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Spam The Courts Idle

Spamming a Judge Is Contempt of Court 280

eldavojohn writes "TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau was sentenced to 30 days in jail because he urged his fans and followers to spam a judge. Apparently the judge (who was deluged with emails) decided that this was an act of contempt of court on the court's 'virtual presence' since nothing happened while the court was in session in regards to Trudeau's courtroom behavior. US Marshals are now trudging through those emails to decide if any are threatening."
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Spamming a Judge Is Contempt of Court

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  • by HarrySquatter ( 1698416 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:01PM (#31792332)

    In a free society, shouldn't people be allowed to buy snake oil if they choose to.

    No, you shouldn't be free to defraud people out of their money. The only reason he is getting people to pay for whatever he is selling is through fraudulent claims.

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:07PM (#31792424) Journal

    I remember that guy, from TV-Shop, many years ago. When I was young and impressionable (read: stupid).

    I bought a set of 8 tapes, called Mega-Memory. Kevin gave a few smart "initial pointers" on how you could memorise things really quickly by using the "peg system", associating an item or a "doing" with something (an item) etc, or a situation. And he used catchy sentences like this:

    "Everyone remembers faces, right, but names? Oh - I remember his name, but what's his face like? (Everyone in the audience laughs and agrees)" And goes on by telling us we can remember anything by using his mega-mind system. Which is utterly bullshit, because once you get to advanced formulas, actual stories etc. you won't remember squat anyway, not anything extra with his system. With his system, you may improve to remember 20 SIMPLE items instead of ...say 10...

    He's well known for scams like this, take some 10% truth things (which most people agree too, and understand immediately) to sell something thats a complete lie - based on that 10% of truth (which you got for free, in the infomercial in the first place).

    It's like people who win because they tell HALF-truths, because everyone understands the first part, the second part must also be true? Right? Wrong! Thats how people like him scams millions across the world.

  • by Ustice ( 788261 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:16PM (#31792588) Homepage
    This sounds more like a care of civil disobedience and protest. As long as he didn't encourage people to threaten the judge, I don't see anything wrong here. If your filters can't handle this, sounds like a personal problem. How many times have you heard something like, "Let your voice be heard. Contact your local Representative, Senator, etc.?"
  • by HarrySquatter ( 1698416 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:29PM (#31792756)

    Last time I checked the states who run lotteries publicly publish the odds of winning both on the tickets themselves and through their websites. Now if the state was hiding the odds or attempting to make people think that the odds were better than they actually are, then you'd have a point.

  • by HarrySquatter ( 1698416 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:30PM (#31792780)

    Regardless of that, would he have been put in contempt had all of those people mailed a letter? Simply doing so on the basis that it's email is a bit ridiculous.

    If he had asked them to mail a letter to the court through an official channel, probably not. In this case he was having people spam the judge through a private email address.

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fuji Kitakyusho ( 847520 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:32PM (#31792816)
    There is no easy technological remedy. That said, I have always been a proponent of an expense based solution, whereby it should cost 10 cents to send an email by making every message a legal account-to-account transaction, with the recipient able to waive the fee upon reading.
  • by B1oodAnge1 ( 1485419 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @02:50PM (#31793074)

    I agree, how is a whole bunch of real people sending emails in any way related to spam.

    Wikipedia defines spam as "the abuse of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately."

    As far as I can tell, these messages were not "bulk," or "indiscriminate."
    Furthermore, the people sending them were hardly "abusing" the system.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:14PM (#31793338)

    So each time we see "Contact your congressmen" here on slashdot means some sort of harassment?

  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @03:53PM (#31793894) Homepage

    The Constitution specifically protects the right to petition your government. It does not specify any restrictions. It doesn't exempt the judiciary. Don't want to be petitioned? Easily taken care of, resign from government.

    Doing this sort of thing might be rude, but it's not illegal. Being part of the government means that you don't have the same standing as a member of the general public with respect to shielding yourself from contact.

    And a contempt citation/jail is certainly an abuse of power by this judge. But it is an indication of how members of the judiciary view themselves, as above reproach. They are unelected, they serve for life. This contempt citation should be overturned because the judge has no authority to cite anyone for behavior not done in his courtroom, or in violation of one of his orders.

    Frankly, I think the whole concept of contempt of court, as being able to be absolutely applied by one person with absolute authority is something that should be outlawed. No one should be able to be sentenced to jail without due process of being charged, tried by jury, and convicted.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford