Virginia’s anti-spam laws are unconstitutional because they prohibit behavior shielded by the First Amendment, the state’s supreme court ruled today. The ruling overturns the conviction of Jeremy Jaynes, who received the nation’s first felony spam conviction in 2004, the Richmond Times-Dispatch says. Prosecutors alleged Jaynes sent up to 10 million emails a day from his North Carolina home.
But the court said unanimously the Virginia law went too far, because while barring commercial speech, it also banned the “anonymous transmission of all unsolicited bulk e-mails, including those containing political, religious or other speech” protected by the Constitution. Many states and the federal government all have anti-spam laws, the AP reports. Jaynes had received 9 years in prison.