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Spammer Perjury is Worth Prosecuting

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the love-a-little-alliteration dept.

161

Slashdot regular Bennett Haselton summarizes his essay by saying "Spammers really do lie more often under oath than other parties in court (surprise). Judges and prosecutors could promote respect for the law by cracking down on it, and maybe make a dent in spam in the process." Read on to learn of his experiences with (shocking!) spammers who lie in court.

I'm sure everyone feels like their opponents in court are the most reprehensible liars that ever walked the face of the Earth. But these instances seem unusually clear-cut even for a courtroom:

  • When I sued one Ohio company for sending me spam, they sent a letter to me (and, when that didn't work, to the court) claiming that someone had dropped a business card in their box at a trade show with an e-mail address one letter different from mine, and they must have mis-read the address when typing it in. They didn't know that after I first got their spam, I called them pretending to be an interested customer, and tape-recorded a conversation with their advertising manager, pretending to be impressed and asking him how he did it (I was in Arizona, so it was legal to tape the call). He admitted that he used a program to scrape e-mail addresses from Web pages into a list and spam them from his desktop.

  • A spammer who lived in Washington appeared in court and claimed that he had never sent the spam in question and wouldn't know how. I then produced a tape recording of another conversation in which I had talked to him on the phone, again pretending to be an interested customer, and he talked about sending the mails from a server in China to make it harder for people in the U.S. to block them.

  • One company called "Lions Pride Enterprises" actually sent a representative from out of state to tell the judge, "I can tell you, under penalty of perjury, that we looked up the address bhas (at) speakeasy.net in our records, and verified that he had signed up for our list via confirmed-opt-in" (this was right after he explained to the judge, more or less accurately, what confirmed-opt-in meant). Except the mail hadn't been sent to bhas (at) speakeasy.net, the headers showed it was sent to bennett (at) peacefire.org and then forwarded to bhas (at) speakeasy.net. Presumably the spammer just looked at the first address they could find in the headers and assumed that's the one they had mailed, and claimed that address had "opted in." (Much later, this same company apparently branched out into infecting people with spyware.)

  • A spammer from Michigan called in to the court hearing by phone, to defend against charges that he'd sent me a spam advertising credit card processing services, and claimed, "I don't even sell merchant accounts." (He lost, due to inconsistencies in his story -- the judge in that case was unusually tech-savvy.) A few weeks later, the same guy sent me another merchant account spam, so I sued him again, and this time he called in to the court hearing (with a different judge) and admitted that he'd sent the spam, but claimed it was legal. I tried to challenge his credibility on the grounds that he'd testified under oath earlier that he "didn't even sell merchant accounts," but the judge said I wasn't allowed to bring that up.

Meanwhile, I've sat through dozens of other people's Small Claims cases, and I've never seen anyone in a non-spammer case get caught really, brazenly lying under oath. Of course, it always seems more egregious when it's your opponent -- but I probably would have noticed if someone had gotten tripped up by a physical document or a recording of their own voice.

The traditional cost-benefit analysis of prosecuting people who lie under oath in a civil trial is that it's just not worth it. The King County Prosecutor's office responded to my inquiry to say they could not recall any instances of someone prosecuted for perjury committed in a civil case. It is not true, by the way, that civil perjury is never prosecuted — when this assumption was making the rounds in 1998 during the Clinton perjury controversy, Professor Stephen Gillers of NYU published a list of counterexamples -- but he conceded in an e-mail that it's nevertheless highly unlikely. Perhaps this makes sense for most trials, where parties come from a general population that includes some honest people and some dishonest people, and even dishonest people often just bend the truth to a degree that outright lying would be hard to prove. (Although I still think it's possible that the costs of prosecuting people who lie under oath in civil cases, might still be outweighed by the benefits of having everyone be scared into being a little more truthful in court proceedings.)

But spammers are different. In the U.S., all spammers are liars — either they are lying to their hosting provider about what they're doing, or, if they have a secret agreement with their provider to avoid getting kicked off, they are complicit in their provider lying to the rest of the world by claiming that they don't allow spam to emanate from their network. (I'm assuming that 100% of U.S. providers at least claim not to allow the sending of spam. This may not be true of the entire world.) Those lies in themselves can't always be punished in court — I can't sue a spammer for lying to their service provider — but I think that courts just haven't realized that all spammers are liars to some degree, and they're more likely than average to lie under oath. This may make the cost-benefit analysis different in the case of prosecuting spammers who get caught lying. You wouldn't need a "spammer perjury law"; there are already laws against perjury, if judges wanted to enforce them.

Courts could start with deterrents that don't cost anything. All judges start out their Small Claims hearings by laying out the rules. Some of them include some very stern admonitions about parties not interrupting each other or the judge (one judge, who possibly had a bad morning, started the afternoon session by threatening to have anyone thrown in jail who argued with him). But I've never seen a judge say anything about being strictly required to tell the truth under oath, with penalties for lying that theoretically include jail time. And if someone does get caught lying, the judge could reprimand them as strongly as possible and stop just short of recommending a criminal prosecution. "Oh, wow," you're laughing, "a stern reprimand! That'll teach them!" But that's what judges do to people who interrupt the judge or each other, and it does get people's attention.

In the examples above, what was surprising was not that the spammers lied to the court but that the judges seemed so blasé about it. In the first case, I had gotten spammed by an Ohio company called SAY Security. After I filed the Small Claims suit and served the papers on them in the mail along with a copy of the spam, I got an e-mail from the owner, Jason Szuch, claiming that they had received a business card at a trade show with 'bnas (at) speakeasy.net' handwritten on it, and accidentally replaced the 'n' with an 'h', and that's how I had gotten their mail. They later made the same claim in a letter to the judge. At the trial, SAY Security didn't show up, so I first pointed out that the e-mail had been sent to bennett (at) peacefire.org and automatically forwarded to bhas (at) speakeasy.net, so it was another case of the spammer mis-reading what address it was sent to, and coming up with a story after the fact. I also had a recording of a conversation with SAY Security's advertising manager, in which he explained how he used a program called Email Extractor to scrape e-mails from Web pages and send the ads.

At that point, the judge thought he had me: You're not allowed to record phone calls in Washington without the consent of all parties. I told him that I knew this, which is why I had made the call and recorded it while I was visiting my Mom in Arizona, which has no such law (and neither does Ohio, which was where the other party was — in order to secretly tape a phone call, it has to be legal in both the caller's state and the call recipient's state). The judge still said I couldn't use it as evidence in Washington. This raises an interesting question. My understanding is that the rules of evidence in Washington don't say "You can't use a secretly taped phone call as evidence." They say, on the one hand, "You can't secretly tape a phone call in Washington," and on the other hand, "You cannot use evidence that was obtained illegally" — but if the call was taped in Arizona and then brought to Washington, it wasn't obtained illegally. I compared it to winning money by gambling in Vegas and then bringing it to Washington to pay the Small claims filing fee — what difference does it make that gambling is illegal in Washington? Oh well, different judges probably would have come to different conclusions on that.

But the real point is that even if the judge did think the recording was inadmissible, couldn't he have still said something like, "Well, if the court did admit this evidence, and if these defendants were here, then they could very well be arrested for perjury — if they were here, I'd tell them that they just had a really close call." At least for the benefit of everyone else who was in the courtroom, waiting for their case to be heard — send a message that the court does care if you get caught lying. As it was, he just shrugged it off, and I got a default judgment since SAY Security didn't show up.

The second case was against a spammer named Joe Spies, who did live in Washington, and who came to court claiming that he didn't know how to send spam and had never made anyone an offer to send spam for money. Again, I had a recording of a phone call in which I pretended to be an interested customer, and he said he could send "5 million e-mails for $500" from a server in China. (This time, since both parties were in Washington, I used a phone number I had specially set up so that people who called it would hear a disclaimer saying "Your call may be monitored or recorded," before it forwarded to my home phone.) Judge Karlie Jorgensen said that even with that phone call, there was not enough evidence that the defendant had sent the e-mail. (This was also the case that I wrote about when I filed a motion with the middle two pages stuck together in the center, and after the motion was denied, I went to the courthouse and saw that the pages were still attached, so I knew that she hadn't read it.)

Lions Pride Enterprises was the other company who sent a representative claiming that they had sent the mail to bhas (at) speakeasy.net and saying, "I swear under penalty of perjury [he was already sworn in, but repeated it presumably for dramatic effect] that I checked personally, and the address bhas (at) speakeasy.net subscribed to our list via verified opt-in," even though the mail had actually been sent to bennett (at) peacefire.org. This was my first spam case, so at the hearing I stuck to my script and I didn't think to point this out to the judge. But if the courts took a harsher view of defendants lying under oath, maybe it would have been worth the time to write a letter to the judge later after I realized the defendant had lied. (In theory, you can be prosecuted for lying under oath even if it's not discovered until after the original trial is over -- since "in theory" is the only place where spammers are punished for lying under oath anyway.)

Finally, in May 2008, a spammer in Michigan named John Tucker called in to a court hearing in which I'd sued him for sending me more spam advertising merchant accounts, as well as the company, Pivotal Payments, on whose behalf he was sending the spam. Tucker admitted that he had sent the spam but claimed that Pivotal Payments had nothing to do with it, at which point I attempted to discredit him by bringing up what he'd said at the last trial:

Me: I wanted to address something that Mr. Tucker said. He sent the faxes saying that he sent this e-mail but he doesn't think it's a violation. But he has stated under oath, to the court, at one point: "I don't even sell merchant accounts." Now I want to introduce that statement because there's a specific rule in the Rules of Evidence, ER 801, which says--
Judge Eiler: Well, don't quote the Rules of Evidence at me. The Rules of Evidence do not necessarily apply in Small Claims Court. If I were to apply the Rules of Evidence, we would have hearings that lasted about 25 seconds. So, don't quote to the rules of Evidence. If you think there's something that you want to tell me, tell it to me straight out.
Me: All right. I want to challenge the credibility of John Tucker as a witness, because he has in the past said under oath in court, "I don't even sell merchant accounts."
Judge Eiler: Did he do it in this court?
Me: Yes.
Judge Eiler: Did he do it today?
Me: No. It was under oath.
Judge Eiler: Well, while you may tell me it's under oath, it wasn't in front of me, I'm not going to hear it. Move on.
Me: Well--
Judge Eiler: Move on.
Me: Do you want the audio?
Judge Eiler: Do you want to move on?

Now there's an odd statement -- "If I were to apply the Rules of Evidence, we would have hearings that lasted about 25 seconds." In Small Claims, the Rules of Evidence are sometimes relaxed in the other direction -- evidence that would be excluded from a regular trial is sometimes allowed to be presented -- but what's the point of making Small Claims more restrictive, excluding evidence that is explicitly allowed under the rules?

Largely on the basis of John Tucker's testimony absolving Pivotal Payments, and their claims that they refused to pay him once they found out he was spamming, I didn't get a judgment against them (I did get another judgment against John Tucker, although I doubt that he has any assets). Later John told me on the phone that Pivotal Payments did pay him the money they owed him after the trial, in accordance with their agreement with him that he would get paid once they were dismissed from the lawsuit. If that's the case, then they lied under oath, too.

This was the same Judge Eiler who, in an earlier case, said that an e-mail "didn't quite have the earmarks" of "spam" sent in bulk, when the e-mail said "I run the web site Work At Home Business Opportunities [...] Please post a link to my site as follows...". The Commission on Judicial Conduct formally reprimanded her in 2005 for being rude to plaintiffs representing themselves; she is currently facing charges for the second time for the same issues, including "preventing pro se litigants [i.e. people representing themselves] from fully presenting their testimony or their positions in court." The CJC receives hundreds of complaints every year about rude and inappropriate behavior by judges, and rejects 97% of the complaints. For a judge to get on their radar even once is an achievement; to do it twice probably warrants a steroids test.

But with regard to laxity towards spammers lying under oath, she is indeed no worse than any other judge. Although Professor Gillers's article showed it's not true that no one is ever prosecuted for civil perjury, it's no wonder that people think that's the case, based on the rarity of prosecutions, combined with the outcomes of the two famous cases that people have heard about. Bill Clinton was disbarred from practicing law before the Supreme Court and had his Arkansas law license suspended for five years, but was never prosecuted; Kwame Kilpatrick was heavily criticized for lying under oath, but only went to jail for violating the terms of his bond. The defenders of both men had a point that even if they lied under oath in a civil case, hardly anyone else ever got punished for that.

In fact, I don't think all perjurers should be prosecuted — Clinton and Kilpatrick were lying to cover up extra-marital affairs, after all. When Clinton was asked during Paula Jones's sexual-harassment lawsuit whether he had ever had a sexual relationship with any other subordinate, if he had answered "Yes" out of the blue and voluntarily spilled out all the lurid details about Monica Lewinsky, wouldn't you have thought, "Dude, you could have just said, 'No'"? They probably shouldn't have gone to jail for perjury. But the mud-slinging they endured, as partisan as it was, at least reminded everyone that a rule had been broken.

The judicial branch can instruct judges at all levels to take perjury in civil cases seriously — at the very least, judges should act angry when someone gets caught lying under oath, at least as angrily as they act when someone interrupts them. That promotes respect for the rule of law, and it doesn't cost anything. And if some parasite like a spammer gets caught lying, prosecutors may be doing the world a favor by pressing criminal charges against them.

In other words, I agree with Thomas Sowell, who responded to defenders of Bill Clinton who said that "everybody" lies about sex: "Everybody urinates every day, but if you do it in a court of law, you will be arrested. And then you will be tried by a jury of your PEERS." OK, I made the last part up.

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Spammers don't "lie"... (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about 6 years ago | (#25300841)

They just have an extremely casual relationship with objective reality.

Spammers lie all the time (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25301527)

It should be no surprise that spammers lie.

After all just look at typical spam emails.

So many spams have:
Fake Subject field
Fake Sender field
Other fake headers
Deceptive content

After all those lies do people actually believe they can send spammers real (humour me ok?) money and expect something that's not fake?

If judges can't see it's fraud (lying for personal gain) perhaps those judges are fakes too.

Re:Spammers don't "lie"... (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 years ago | (#25302491)

They just have an extremely casual relationship with objective reality.

No, they lie.

I am seeing an increase in spam messages that have a disclaimer at the bottom indicating that "this message was sent by Fox New Corp" with the mailing address of them in NYC, and if I want to opt out I can go to the following link. Of course, the unsubscribe link is on the same site that the spam is directing you to.

This gives the illusion of complying with CANSPAM, but, in reality, it demonstrates how completely toothless CANSPAM really is.

If they can't track down who is actually sending it, then start punishing the companies who are benefiting from it and make them responsible for how their "affiliates" are marketing their products. Because, really, these companies get to act like they're not spamming, but they're benefiting from it. I'm fairly sure that whatever fake "Canadian Pharmacy" these things point to isn't a legitimate business and shouldn't be able to pretend that a bunch of people they don't know are directing "customers" to their web site.

Unfortunately, I don't have any idea of how we're ever going to reduce the amount of spam -- but, by its very nature, spam is almost always dishonest, and often outright fraudulent.

Cheers

Rule #1 (3, Insightful)

HermDog (24570) | about 6 years ago | (#25300871)

Spammers lie. Perjury convictions should be an automatic add-on.

Re:Rule #1 (2, Funny)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | about 6 years ago | (#25300913)

I don't know what you're talking about. I totally got a huge hard extra 3-5 inches!

Re:Rule #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302081)

3-5? As in three minus five? Tell me the name of your supplier, so that I'll never get my penis enl^W^W medicine from him.

Re:Rule #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301089)

No they shouldn't. Perjury is a criminal offence and as such requires proof "beyond reasonable doubt". This was a civil offence and the burden of proof is lower. So even if you have "proven" in a civil court that the guy lied, you haven't proven it beyond reasonable doubt, so the criminal conviction cannot possibly be automatic.

Re:Rule #1 (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 6 years ago | (#25301091)

I was sure Rule #1 was "There are no women on the internet"

Re:Rule #1 (2, Funny)

HermDog (24570) | about 6 years ago | (#25301921)

I was sure Rule #1 was "There are no women on the internet"

There are lots of women on the internet. The rule is that none of them is chatting with you.

Re:Rule #1 (2, Funny)

theilliterate (1381151) | about 6 years ago | (#25302703)

I was sure Rule #1 was "There are no women on the internet"

Clearly you aren't getting the same pop-ups I am.

Re:Rule #1 (2, Informative)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#25301711)

Do you know how often perjury charges are brought? Rarely, if ever. It's hard to prosecute and difficult to prove. As a matter of course, it's merely a waste of the Court's time.

Re:Rule #1 (1)

HermDog (24570) | about 6 years ago | (#25301881)

Then automatic perjury convictions for spammers would be a big win!

Re:Rule #1 (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | about 6 years ago | (#25302127)

Do you want automatic convictions for those accused of theft, too?

How is a spam warrior like a drug warrior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25300873)

They will both end up as total failures.

Re:How is a spam warrior like a drug warrior (2, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25301993)

what's a drug warrior?

if you're implying that drug users are all failures, you're sadly mistaken. even if we incorrectly assume that alcohol isn't a drug because it's legal, there are an endless list of people who are evidence of the contrary:

  • Steve Jobs (lsd)
  • Bill Gates (lsd)
  • The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, Ray Charles, and just about every other well known musician.
  • Benjamin Franklin (opium, cannabis)
  • Ken Kesey (lsd)
  • William S. Burroughs
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Paul Erdos (used amphetamines daily)
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • Aldus Huxley
  • Francis Crick
  • Andry Warhol
  • Alex Grey
  • Marcus Aurelius (opium)
  • Charles Baudelaire (absinthe)
  • Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)
  • Winston Churchill (nitrous)
  • Grover Cleveland (cocaine)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge (opium)
  • Samuel Colt (nitrous)
  • Salvidor Dali
  • Thomas De Quincey
  • Charles Dickins (opium)
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (opium, cocaine)
  • Alexandre Dumas
  • Anthony Eden
  • Thomas Edison (coca wine)
  • Sigmund Freud (cocaine)
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Abbie Hoffman
  • Albert Hoffman
  • Thomas Jefferson (grew cannabis)
  • Stephen King (cocaine)
  • Alexander Shulgin
  • Terrence Mckenna

frankly, there are just too many to list [erowid.org] here. and statistically speaking, young people who experiment with drugs are generally more healthy socially & emotionally than young people who completely abstain from any kind of drug use. the intoxication instinct exists in most animals, not just human beings. and social/recreational drug use has been a part of our culture and civilization from the very beginning. there's nothing wrong with drinking a beer/glass of wine, or smoking a joint once in a while if you can exercise moderation.

that's why i don't get many people's irrational hostility and condescending attitude towards drug users. if you want to be straight edge, that's your prerogative. but why should it bother you what someone else does in their free time when it doesn't effect you in any way?

Re:How is a spam warrior like a drug warrior (2, Funny)

HypotenuseMan (1169475) | about 6 years ago | (#25303311)

Wow, I didn't know Charles Dodgson took Lewis Carroll.

Put down the window pane, dude! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25303583)

A drug warrior is one that participates in the war on drugs. I cannot believe you have never heard the term.

A drug warrior is one that believes criminal legislation will rid the world of all drugs and all the supposedly bad things that happen because of them.

A drug warrior believes that all drug users are losers and all outcomes are horrible.

Anyone with any sense knows this is false and the "war" and criminalization has only made things worse.

A drug warrior is just as misguided as these self-appointed spam warriors.

what, me lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25300887)

never

Can't we work this out? (1)

InspectorxGadget (1230170) | about 6 years ago | (#25300911)

Look, you know and I know that V1@GR@ V!C0D1|\| 3nl@rg3 Y0|_|R M3mb3r bible bracelet dragon carboard zapper free, but that's not really relevant to the legal issues here.

It would be nice... (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25300915)

But it won't work because:
Your post advocates a

( ) technical (x) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
(x) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(x) The police will not put up with it
(x) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(x) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(x) Asshats
(x) Jurisdictional problems
(x) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(x) Extreme profitability of spam
(x) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(x) Technically illiterate politicians
(x) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Re:It would be nice... (0, Redundant)

eagee (1308589) | about 6 years ago | (#25301081)

This is incredibly clever :D

Re:It would be nice... (-1, Offtopic)

orclevegam (940336) | about 6 years ago | (#25301269)

My kingdom for some mod points. This totally deserves either a +5 Funny, or a +5 Insightful, not sure which though.

Re:It would be nice... (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#25301467)

I'll agree with the humor. But it's a sad state of affairs when genuinely interesting arguments are reduced to the drivel of a geek-form response.

Re:It would be nice... (1)

orclevegam (940336) | about 6 years ago | (#25302053)

I'll agree with the humor. But it's a sad state of affairs when genuinely interesting arguments are reduced to the drivel of a geek-form response.

There's nothing preventing humor from also making a point. One of the primary purposes of satire is in fact to point out the absurdity of every day things that we might otherwise tend to overlook. In this case the post shows many of the common flaws with anti-SPAM techniques, and in addition to entertaining you for a few moments, should also make you consider the various ways in which SPAM can be combated and which if any of the reasons on the "form" it falls afoul of.

Re:It would be nice... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#25302287)

If we're combatting spam, we're losing. If you expected the government to be helpful, that, too, was humorous.

Re:It would be nice... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 years ago | (#25302519)

I'll agree with the humor. But it's a sad state of affairs when genuinely interesting arguments are reduced to the drivel of a geek-form response.

Sadly, those arguments have been made so damned often that the form seems far too useful.

People just keep making the same arguments that can be ticked off and shown to be something which won't work.

Cheers

Re:It would be nice... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301289)

Despite your ridiculously low slashdot ID, your analysis is wrong.

(x) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money

Really? This one regular guy was able to find them without very much effort. How much easier would it be with a subpoena or search warrant?

(x) The police will not put up with it

The police don't care much. In fact, I think the police like it when an open & shut case drops in their laps. It makes them look good by increasing their arrest & conviction rate without any effort.

(x) Requires too much cooperation from spammers

Spammer cooperation not required.

(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once

Not at all. But if a spammer is hit with a big fine and/or jail time maybe they will rethink their ways.

(x) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

No, since you have things like judges and juries who look at the evidence to determine how reliable it is.

(x) Asshats

The idea is to slap the asshats with fines and/or jail time.

(x) Jurisdictional problems

You just need to find a court where the spammer is located or does business.

(x) Unpopularity of weird new taxes

Tax? What tax?

(x) Extreme profitability of spam

Ok, maybe this one is correct. A spammer could just pay the fine. However, if they get sent to jail, that is a different story.

Martha Stewart was investigated for insider trading. She wasn't sent to jail for that. There was no evidence she engaged in insider trading. She was sent to jail for lying to investigators while being investigated for insider trading. And she wasn't even under oath at the time.

(x) Joe jobs and/or identity theft

No, since you have things like judges and juries who look at the evidence to determine how reliable it is.

(x) Technically illiterate politicians

Politicians are irrelevant, it's the judges & prosecutors that matter. And judges often get pissed when people lie in their courtroom.

(x) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers

This has nothing to do with people who do business with spammers, it's the spammers themselves.

(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves

Ummm, that's the point. Catch them in their dishonesty.

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical

This one regular guy was able to find them without very much effort. How much easier would it be with a subpoena or search warrant?

(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem

It won't solve the entire problem, but it will feel good and solve part of the problem.

(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Hey, I agree!

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.

Despite your ridiculously low slashdot ID, your analysis is wrong.

Re:It would be nice... (0)

rev_g33k_101 (886348) | about 6 years ago | (#25301767)

Despite your ridiculously low slashdot ID, your analysis is wrong.

First off (#25300915) is not low you are only 374 people apart from the GP ....

Compare your number to mine if you want low (side note, I am not stating that my point is anymore valid then anybody else based on a number assigned to me when I joined slashdot.) we are 24,414,941 people apart.

secondly most of your rebuttals are completely missing the point.

You are taking this form...
( )Not seriously enough
(x)Too seriously
(x)He made a fake form letter for Gods sake!
(x)Lighten up

Re:It would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301879)

First off (#25300915) is not low you are only 374 people apart from the GP ....

Ummm, maybe you noticed a difference between the commentID and the userID?

His userID: mfh (56)

Re:It would be nice... (1)

rev_g33k_101 (886348) | about 6 years ago | (#25302937)

oops, that is what i get for posting without coffee....

I regret all my previous actions...

Re:It would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302193)

Despite your ridiculously low slashdot ID, your analysis is wrong.

First off (#25300915) is not low you are only 374 people apart from the GP ....

Compare your number to mine if you want low (side note, I am not stating that my point is anymore valid then anybody else based on a number assigned to me when I joined slashdot.) we are 24,414,941 people apart.

Go back to slashdot ID school. Do not collect $200.

Re:It would be nice... (1)

rev_g33k_101 (886348) | about 6 years ago | (#25302965)

oops the low ID was so small......

Re:It would be nice... (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 6 years ago | (#25301785)

This is small claims court. Does anyone even get subpoena'd for that? Also, keep in mind that rewards in civil court are notorious for being uncollectable.

Re:It would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302061)

This is small claims court. Does anyone even get subpoena'd for that?

No.

Also, keep in mind that rewards in civil court are notorious for being uncollectable.

Perjury is a criminal matter, regardless of where you are when you lie under oath.

Re:It would be nice... (1)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25302721)

Perjury is a criminal matter, regardless of where you are when you lie under oath.

Actually, the courts tend to weigh the cases that perjury allegedly occurred, and factor that in. Also, it's incredibly difficult to win a perjury case, irrespective of the details.

Re:It would be nice... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#25303621)

You would think that if a person said X under oath in court, then said !X under oath in court, then that person has committed perjury. I guess logic doesn't apply in a court room.

Re:It would be nice... (1)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25302487)

(x) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money

Really? This one regular guy was able to find them without very much effort. How much easier would it be with a subpoena or search warrant?

Collecting the money is why that got checked. Spammers are notorious for pulling every dirty trick in the book and many that are undocumented, to avoid paying penalties.

(x) The police will not put up with it

The police don't care much. In fact, I think the police like it when an open & shut case drops in their laps. It makes them look good by increasing their arrest & conviction rate without any effort.

Police hate investigating perjury cases. Ask anyone. Even when you hand them the evidence and they put a case together, there are low rates of success. Did you read the article? The judge was hostile about even exploring something that wasn't heard in his court. That kind of malaise is common in all areas of the criminal courts, right down to the police. Many of these people think going after spammers is a waste of time and money.

Have you worked in IT? People do not sympathize with admins fighting spam. They just want it to work and they blame IT for it, not spammers.

(x) Requires too much cooperation from spammers

Spammer cooperation not required.

Uh, how else are you going to collect money, without cooperation? They wouldn't do time for perjury in these types of cases... it'd be fines.

(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once

Not at all. But if a spammer is hit with a big fine and/or jail time maybe they will rethink their ways.

Actually in order to get a perjury case going you would need the cooperation of the courts and pretty much every court in the nation at once, or you can forget about it working.

(x) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

No, since you have things like judges and juries who look at the evidence to determine how reliable it is.

Spammers are pretty good at what they do. They would proxy through other people and make them look guilty, thus increasing the liklihood of the person looking like they are lying on the stand, when they could be innocent.

(x) Asshats

The idea is to slap the asshats with fines and/or jail time.

Asshats are idiots that will come in and mess with this approach any way they can to screw it up, not just spammers. Asshats are the fringe of the internet that want to create chaos. eg. Anonymous and "over 9000" and you'll see what I mean.

(x) Jurisdictional problems

You just need to find a court where the spammer is located or does business.

And for spam coming from China?

(x) Unpopularity of weird new taxes

Tax? What tax?

How are you gonna pay for all this, Einstein?

(x) Extreme profitability of spam

Ok, maybe this one is correct. A spammer could just pay the fine. However, if they get sent to jail, that is a different story.

They will never see jail for low-level perjury. Most of it can be explained away as misinterpretation.

Martha Stewart was investigated for insider trading. She wasn't sent to jail for that. There was no evidence she engaged in insider trading. She was sent to jail for lying to investigators while being investigated for insider trading. And she wasn't even under oath at the time.

Martha, is kind and trusting. She is the kind of person a spammer would like to know, for use as a patsy.

(x) Joe jobs and/or identity theft

No, since you have things like judges and juries who look at the evidence to determine how reliable it is.

You can't trust that judges and juries will look beyond what is presented. People would get caught in it that perhaps shouldn't be involved.

(x) Technically illiterate politicians

Politicians are irrelevant, it's the judges & prosecutors that matter. And judges often get pissed when people lie in their courtroom.

You won't get the support of judges without the support of politicians for this kind of policy.

(x) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers

This has nothing to do with people who do business with spammers, it's the spammers themselves.

These people would be testifying, and if they are extremely stupid -- well do the math.

(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves

Ummm, that's the point. Catch them in their dishonesty.

Getting the money from overseas, or if you lock them up they hand the operation off to someone else till they get out. They won't get locked up, however.

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical

This one regular guy was able to find them without very much effort. How much easier would it be with a subpoena or search warrant?

It's not practical in a global sense. Look at the big picture.

(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem

It won't solve the entire problem, but it will feel good and solve part of the problem.

1% if you are lucky.

(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Hey, I agree!

KTHXBYE

Re:It would be nice... (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 years ago | (#25301509)

I *so* hate those sorts of responses.

Here's the shortest summary of the original article:

"Why won't the judicial system enforce the rules and laws we already have in place?"

Re:It would be nice... (1)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25302783)

"Why won't the judicial system enforce the rules and laws we already have in place?"

Easy answer [slashdot.org] .

Re:It would be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25303129)

Respect #56!

Re:It would be nice... (1)

anexkahn (935249) | about 6 years ago | (#25303255)

it doesn't matter whether or not they have assets if you bring criminal charges against them, including jail time. The asset you take from them is their time and freedom.

A bigger problem... (5, Insightful)

robinsonne (952701) | about 6 years ago | (#25300917)

A bigger problem with spammers perjuring in court...is getting the spammers in court in the first place.

Re:A bigger problem... (0, Redundant)

iplayfast (166447) | about 6 years ago | (#25300961)

Hear Hear!

lame (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25300953)

lame

Perjury is a crime that most people don't seriousl (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 6 years ago | (#25300969)

All perjury should be punished. It's always a serious crime to knowingly screw up the legal system with lies. If a cop is caught committing perjury, the judge should be empowered to summarily strip him or her of their badge and gun the moment they get off the witness seat. If someone does it to avoid any punishment, their punishment should be automatically doubled, without mercy. If someone bears false witness against a defendant to get them convicted, they ought to be sentenced to the identical punishment that the defendant would have gotten, even up to the death penalty.

When you commit perjury, you are pretty much always denying someone justice. You simply cannot support a conservative enforcement of perjury and then bemoan the increasing lack of justice in the system.

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (4, Funny)

rmadmin (532701) | about 6 years ago | (#25301153)

Double Death Penalty! F-F-FINISH HIM!

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301439)

:DDD

i loll'd pretty damn har-har-hard here!1

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (0, Offtopic)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 6 years ago | (#25302113)

B F D F LP

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#25301235)

If someone bears false witness against a defendant to get them convicted, they ought to be sentenced to the identical punishment that the defendant would have gotten, even up to the death penalty.

So... treat it like pass interference?

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (3, Informative)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 6 years ago | (#25301279)

Hell, I'd be happy if the existing penalties for perjury were imposed. Ever. For a really egregious and obvious example, see the case of Pamela Fish [chicagotribune.com] .

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | about 6 years ago | (#25301287)

Pretty much. Punishing people who fail to cooperate with the courts or mislead them deliberately need to be punish, in game theoretical terms it suddenly makes it a lot more attractive to tell the truth. It reminds me of some study about cheating in games, and how cheating goes up a lot slower with increasing number of players if players are punished for not reporting cheating. Also, being a Brit I get the imperssion that perjury is taken a lot more seriously here - see Jeffrey Archer and all the others who have ended up in jail, not on the original charges but on perjury charges.

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (2, Interesting)

DavidTC (10147) | about 6 years ago | (#25301313)

I agree with you, although I think perjury is sometimes understandable, especially when it isn't to avoid criminal prosecution but to avoid embarrassment.

I wish that witnesses on the stand could ask to 'approach the bench' if they wished to. Or, at the very least, ask for a closed courtroom.

But, yes, anyone who lies to get out of punishment, anyone who is actually found guilty, should be prosecuted for perjury. Same with anyone who attempts to incriminate someone else.

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25302913)

Don't forget the millions of criminal border violators who commit perjury by signing the I-9.

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#25302979)

All perjury should be punished. It's always a serious crime to knowingly screw up the legal system with lies

You jump from the legal system to ethical claim. Implicitely it seems you're assuming every legal crime should be punished. Fortunately, apart from Hobbesian psychopaths, no one believes that.

Re:Perjury is a crime that most people don't serio (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#25303033)

To make myself clear, if the government decides to decapitate mormons and you're a mormon, it's ok to lie in court. And you emphatically shouldn't be prosecuted for it.

Spam... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25300981)

Nice post. This is so true - especially the person sending the spam to claim that your address where given to them by referral or by business card (all lies).

The best thing to do is to publically name and shame a company. This is unfortunately only useful when that company/person has a public image.

I have not heard of a single successful spam prosecution in my country (South Africa), even though spamming is fairly widespread and there is a strict law on the books. There are a lot of people selling mailing lists (I.e. spam lists) fairly openly. Even some Internet Service Providers will sell your email address to other people.

Re:Spam... (1)

MoHaG (1002926) | about 6 years ago | (#25301701)

I have not heard of a single successful spam prosecution in my country (South Africa), even though spamming is fairly widespread and there is a strict law on the books.

Except that the law basically allows anything as long as you have the option to opt-out.... (Not to mention that the rest of the same law is mostly broken...)

At least opting-out it mostly works... I wish I had that option on my PO Box...

Cops lie too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301043)

Cops lie all the time too, and they never get punished. Why should spammers be any different?

Wow (0)

rahlquist (558509) | about 6 years ago | (#25301075)

..spammers lie.... what a concept.....

What's the point of the oath? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301087)

Perjury is already a crime, why take an oath?

Re:What's the point of the oath? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#25303329)

I always wondered that myself. I doubt they're going to let you go home if you answer "No."

John Tucker Must Die!!1! (1)

DerekSTheRed (1292084) | about 6 years ago | (#25301167)

Bad joke I know ;)

dude (4, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 years ago | (#25301197)

In Small Claims, the Rules of Evidence are sometimes relaxed in the other direction -- evidence that would be excluded from a regular trial is sometimes allowed to be presented -- but what's the point of making Small Claims more restrictive, excluding evidence that is explicitly allowed under the rules?

You're missing the point I think. Rules of Evidence introduce a level of formality that really would derail small claims court. In standard civil trials it's not uncommon for there to be a half-dozen hearings on evidentiary matters before trial. Plunking down what you claim to be a tape of the defendant would not be allowed; it would have to go on the pretrial exhibit list and both sides would have a copy. The defendant would be able to attack its validity in a pretrial hearing. The judge was in her rights to ignore it in this case.

Re:dude (2, Interesting)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 6 years ago | (#25301647)

Haven't we heard from this guy before? It seems like lots of his problems with "the system" seem to be mostly geared around not understanding how the courts work, and possibly arguing with judges.

Exactly what I was thinking (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 6 years ago | (#25302527)

He whines about spammers not following the rules, then wants the judge to not follow the rules, or rather, wants the judge to follow his own rules, as if he knows more about that than the judge.

Especially thinking evidence in a Washington state court should follow rules in the state where he made the recording. Number one rule in court: don't piss off the judge.

Bah (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25301203)

Spam will save the economy! [today.com]

Just imagine failed bankers going into spam instead. All Hot SUBPRIME MORTGAGES! Collateralised V!K@GKR@ Obligations! You will search an hour for your underwear in the ocean of your debt!

Oh dear. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301205)

Look, I'm no lawyer. Just a law school student. As a student, I have no time to respond in full, or even truly in part. It's just that bad.

I will say, however, as a bit of caution: there is no easier way to lose a small claims case than to bring a lawyer along with you, with the possible exception of attempting to act like you are an attorney by quoting the rules of evidence.

Judges don't like it, and with reason. Small claims is a simple procedure - evidence is presented, cases are decided in 10 minutes or less (often much less), and the matter goes on. Period.

The rules of evidence are very, very complicated. There's a reason people do hire lawyers, and a good reason to avoid these rules in small claims to keep the courthouse doors open to the people. When you start quoting the rules of evidence to a small claims court judge, don't expect a positive response. As a personal example, my brother-in-law went to small claims court against a party who did decide to bring along an attorney. As the sides began to examine witnesses (a process the judge allowed more to amuse the attorney than out of typical practice), the opposing side's attorney began to object to my brother-in-law's questions. Now, if you've read the rules of evidence, you know it's not easy to form a question that is safe from objection. This is why people hire attorneys to litigate on their behalf. The judge, however, refused to uphold any of the objections and, after overruling three of them, told the attorney to "sit down, shut up, and let the man ask his questions." Unsurprisingly, the side that had not brought an attorney prevailed in a big way.

I would recommend that this gentleman either get an attorney or stop with the cutesieness. Small Claims Judges don't like cutesy. They like simple, straightforward fact. Don't start quoting rules of evidence. Don't contrive ways around recording phone calls. Look up the statute, decide if you meet the basic requirements, and argue a simple, forthright case. Don't say things like "obviously". Don't argue law - argue fact.

Why treat spammers differently? (1)

Zakabog (603757) | about 6 years ago | (#25301225)

Why should spammers be treated differently? You know justice is supposed to be blind, if they prosecute all spammers who perjure in court then they must prosecute EVERYONE who perjures in court. That means if little ol' grandma is getting sued by the RIAA and she says "I never downloaded any music!" but the RIAA produces some log from an ISP showing that her niece e-mailed her some Britney Spears song, well we'd have to persecute grandma for perjury. Judges don't generally want to do that to everyone and need to use their own judgment on how to treat the perjury.

You can't just ask the judges to be extra harsh on spammers. You'd first need to define what a spammer is. What if I have a huge mailing list of people that opted in and send out mass mails to everyone on the list? Well what if someone on the list forgets that they opted in? What if someone lost their domain name, then someone else takes it over and now they're getting my e-mails. That person didn't opt in am I now a spammer for sending them unsolicited mail? Well the Jehova's Witnesses make unsolicited visits to my house early in the morning, should we also prosecute them every time they perjure in court?

Perjury is a crime, but the judge has to make the final decision on whether or not to prosecute the perjurer, that decision should not be based on what the person is being accused of doing.

Re:Why treat spammers differently? (1)

Benanov (583592) | about 6 years ago | (#25302335)

Why should spammers be treated differently? You know justice is supposed to be blind, if they prosecute all spammers who perjure in court then they must prosecute EVERYONE who perjures in court. That means if little ol' grandma is getting sued by the RIAA and she says "I never downloaded any music!" but the RIAA produces some log from an ISP showing that her niece e-mailed her some Britney Spears song, well we'd have to persecute grandma for perjury.

Why? The grandma never downloaded any music. The niece did.

Re:Why treat spammers differently? (2, Insightful)

jelton (513109) | about 6 years ago | (#25303565)

That means if little ol' grandma is getting sued by the RIAA and she says "I never downloaded any music!" but the RIAA produces some log from an ISP showing that her niece e-mailed her some Britney Spears song, well we'd have to persecute grandma for perjury.

Though I agree with your general point regarding equal application of the law, I am going to quibble with the above example. Also, I think you meant "prosecute" and not "persecute".

Black's Law Dictionary defines perjury as "The act or an instance of a person's deliberately making material false or misleading statements while under oath." Assuming a jurisdiction where this definition is used in either the common law or statutory definition of perjury, Granny (or, more likely, her lawyer) might rightfully argue that she understood the question regarding music downloads to be constrained to the use of P2P software and so did not "deliberately mak[e] false or misleading statements while under oath."

Perjury contains an element of intent for a reason. The point is not to punish mistaken testimony but to punish those who intentionally mislead the court. There are substantial policy reasons to let the former go while punishing the latter. Perhaps a better example is to say that a judge would be loathe to enforce penalties for perjury against the grandmother who is lying to protect the niece's use of Grandma's computer to download music.

They justify it to themselves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301237)

Here's the spammer mentality:
"If you don't want to be bothered, you can always ignore my request for your attention."

They say: If you don't want it, ignore it.

So, what happens when you want to hear the truth from them?

"If I don't want to be bothered, I can always ignore your request to hear the truth from me."

Trump card (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 6 years ago | (#25301285)

And the reason why judges (and prosecutors) won't pursue perjury charges is very, very simple: it would increase their workload, and they already have more than they can do in an ordinary 80-hour week.

You can argue till you turn blue and die that enforcement would actually reduce their workload in the great bye-and-bye but it Just Ain't Gonna Happen.

Re:Trump card (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#25302195)

If there aren't resources to effectively enforce a law, that law should be taken off the books. Perhaps they should prioritize, and start prosecuting perjurers instead of pot smokers. That should clear up some space on the docket.

Idealism strikes again (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 6 years ago | (#25302635)

If there aren't resources to effectively enforce a law, that law should be taken off the books.

You're making the totally unfounded assumption that the purpose of a law is to be obeyed. On the contrary, the purpose of many laws is to stroke some group of constituents while remaining secure in the knowledge that the law will never be enforced. CAN-SPAM is a good example, as are the plethora of bills passed each year that are immediately rejected as unconstitutional. Again.

Oxymoron (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 6 years ago | (#25301311)

Spammers are liars. But it's an oxymoron to say it.

Much harder to prove perjury than to win the suit (3, Insightful)

Fastolfe (1470) | about 6 years ago | (#25301315)

None of the examples you provided are clear, provable examples of perjury. A recording obviously isn't testimony. Maybe he lied to you when you were recording him? He wasn't under oath then. Maybe the guy saying he didn't even sell merchant accounts, didn't sell them at the time, but now he does? If you can think of a plausible scenario where what he said could technically be looked upon as true (even if you and I "know" he's lying), that's a far cry from being able to prove that he perjured himself. Even the case where the guy said the wrong e-mail address isn't quite open-and-shut. Is there really enough evidence to prosecute him? A civil trial has a lower burden of proof than a criminal one. Just because a judge awards you judgment(believing the defendant was lying) doesn't mean there's enough evidence to convict him of perjury.

Too lazy to look, but ... (1)

DikSeaCup (767041) | about 6 years ago | (#25301321)

Haven't I read this essay before?

No wonder lawyers are so fat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301323)

With fuckers like this abusing the legal system and flooding it with frivolous lawsuit we will never see a true legal reform. The Jews are the only one who are making money.

Re:No wonder lawyers are so fat (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 6 years ago | (#25301803)

Small claims doesn't require a lawyer, and most people in small claims don't get one. You can only sue for up to something like $5,000 in small claims. It costs that much just to look a a lawyer. It's not worth hiring one to argue over the couple hundred bucks you're getting sued for. So... you're wrong.

Can you prove it? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#25301339)

Can you prove, beyond reasonable doubt that he was lying, that he knew he was lying, and that the statement that contradicted the lie (e.g. the recorded telephone calls) were not actually misinformation to prevent a potential competitor from stealing his way of doing things?

And you are better how? (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25301385)

And you, getting all your information under false pretenses (doesn't matter where you live, you got the info by lying, admittedly), are no better.

Guess in your eyes, committing fraud is ok, as long as you are going against something you don't find agreeable?

Just wondering, how you can possibly count yourself as a "dogooder", when your doing the exact same thing you accuse the spammers of doing.

lol.

--Toll_Free

Did you get to the end of the article? (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25301843)

And you, getting all your information under false pretenses (doesn't matter where you live, you got the info by lying, admittedly), are no better.

"Everyone urinates, but if you do it in court..."

Heh (1)

kamikazearun (1282408) | about 6 years ago | (#25301391)

Prosecuting spammers is like shouting at a dog that peed on your sports car's wheels. Waste of your time and the dog learns nothing.

Everybody urinates every day, but if you do it in a court of law, you will be arrested. And then you will be tried by a jury of your PEERS.
Damn. I think I'll be cracking pee jokes all day thanks to TFA.

The problem I've seen with small claims (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 6 years ago | (#25301505)

I've been to small claims court. The plaintiff said "He hasn't given me a dime". I said "I have the a copy of the cleared check right here". Guess what? The judge DID NOT CARE that she was lying! In any given small claims case, the judge assumes both sides are lying equally and splits the difference (the judge arbitrarily made me pay about half the amount she was requesting -- really! To this day, I have no idea where he came up with the number.) Which means if you go in there and simply TELL THE TRUTH, you get screwed! This is just my experience, but I believe people almost always lie in small claims court, and sanctions are never even considered -- after all, the participants aren't lawyers.

English, do you speak it? (2, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 6 years ago | (#25301725)

But the real point is that even if the judge did think the recording was inadmissible, couldn't he have still said something like, "Well, if the court did admit this evidence, and if these defendants were here, then they could very well be arrested for perjury -- if they were here, I'd tell them that they just had a really close call."

Do you know what "inadmissible" means?

It's just as likely, and appropriate, for the Judge to say, "Well, if the defendant was found in a room holding a knife standing over a dead body which had just been stabbed to death, then they could very well be arrested for murder."

The Cost of Perjury in Civil Cases (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25301729)

"The traditional cost-benefit analysis of prosecuting people who lie under oath in a civil trial, is that it's just not worth it"

Tell that to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
He lied in a civil trial and it cost him, dearly.

And what happened then? (1)

bloobloo (957543) | about 6 years ago | (#25301787)

A spammer who lived in Washington appeared in court and claimed that he had never sent the spam in question and wouldn't know how. I then produced a tape recording of another conversation in which I had talked to him on the phone, again pretending to be an interested customer, and he talked about sending the mails from a server in China to make it harder for people in the U.S. to block them.

Did the defence council object on the basis that you broke Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by not diclosing this information?

Judge Eiler (3, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 6 years ago | (#25301831)

Judge Eiler is well know in King County to be hard to deal with:

A Seattle-area judge has been accused of routinely interrupting litigants and lawyers and addressing them in a manner that is "angry, disdainful, condescending and/or demeaning."

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct claims in a statement of charges (PDF) that Judge Judith Eiler treated lawyers and self-represented litigants in a way that is "rude, impatient, undignified and intimidating," the Tacoma News Tribune reports.

Eiler underwent behavior therapy with an emphasis on sensitivity training after she received a reprimand in 2005 for impatient and rude behavior, the story says.

The way the she deals with people in her court shows that she should retire from the bench and do something else. Like become a correctional officer or something.

http://www.abovethelaw.com/judge_judy_judith_sheindlin/ [abovethelaw.com]

Stop it. Just stop it. (3, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | about 6 years ago | (#25301931)

Stop posting these long-winded inexpert screeds on the law. You simply don't know what you're talking about as demonstrated repeatedly in article after article, and you do a great disservice to the Slashdot community by foisting your uninformed opinion on us as fact.

Let me point out two parts of Washington law that you might not be aware of that I was able to dig up with mere Google searches (and no need of Westlaw or any other expensive legal tools):

The judge still said I couldn't use it as evidence in Washington. This raises an interesting question. My understanding is that the rules of evidence in Washington don't say "You can't use a secretly taped phone call as evidence."

Perhaps you should look at RCW 9.73.050 [wa.gov] . While the court doesn't have jurisdiction to see you fined or prosecuted for actions taken outside of the state completely that would be a violation RCW 9.73.030 [wa.gov] , they are not obligated to treat your out of state acts as not an ones that would be proscribed. You can't do an end-run around evidentiary rules that way. Note how nothing in the statute requires either party to be in Washington to count as a violation under the section 030 definitions referenced in 050. You conversation, therefore, still meets the exclusion rule.

Evidence are sometimes relaxed in the other direction -- evidence that would be excluded from a regular trial is sometimes allowed to be presented -- but what's the point of making Small Claims more restrictive, excluding evidence that is explicitly allowed under the rules?

Evidence rules are normally relaxed in Small Claims Court for two reasons:
1) To keep the court proceedings simple for non-lawyers.
2) To keep the case from becoming overly long and complicated.

It seems like the second rationale controlled here. Whether you think that's right or not is a matter for Washington voters to fix and not grounds to question the moral integrity of the judges before everyone. The judge may have well only been doing what the law requires. See RCW 12.40.090 [wa.gov] mandating informal hearings "with the sole object of dispensing speedy and quick justice between the litigants."

Small claims court is a different animal from real court. It's supposed to be court without need for lawyers. One of the consequences of that is that it doesn't follow all the rules. You've made an impressive effort to learn Washington law, but you haven't researched the problem deeply enough, so please stop writing these screeds about how awful your local judges are.

Lastly, your article once again reached its conclusion very early on and should've stopped there:

The traditional cost-benefit analysis of prosecuting people who lie under oath in a civil trial, is that it's just not worth it.

Since the title of this article is that that's not true and you haven't really provided any evidence the cost-benefit analysis is any different (instead of rehashing whining about how small claims court didn't go your way AGAIN), the rest of this article should've been cut.

Your arrogance is unwarranted (2, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 6 years ago | (#25302817)

I rather enjoyed the poster's comments and read them fully, as I did his previous postings.

His overall tone and conclusion is that the system doesn't work for us common folk, which reflects my own experience with the court system.

It's a simple problem in game theory: people will do the least amount of work for the maximum amount of gain. As applied to judges (or any government employee), that means showing up late, not bothering to read paperwork, and generally opting for the shortest path to going home early.

The expected slashdot comment for this type of post should read something like "Government employee doesn't do their job, film at 11".

I've anecdotally polled several people about the cost benefits of taking someone to small claims court, and the overwhelming opinion is that it's not worth it. Judges are arbitrary, don't know the law, and don't bother to enforce it.

Think about what this means for a moment: the general population (again, my polls are anecdotal) has lost faith in the idea of taking someone to court to have their grievances settled.

You appear to talk with the authority of a lawyer, or maybe you're a judge yourself. Good for you! Tearing down an (obviously) non-lawyer is trivial for someone at your level of learning and experience.

Now explain to me how his conclusions are wrong, that the system works as advertized, and any sense of justice is ever accomplished.

Lying is not perjury (2, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 6 years ago | (#25302317)

"then they could very well be arrested for perjury"

Perjury is lying by a witness under oath. The spammer on the telephone call you recorded and the letter sent to the court by the spammer were not made under oath so therefore they were not perjury.

Re:Lying is not perjury (2, Informative)

StevenMaurer (115071) | about 6 years ago | (#25303535)

Not quite. It's even more restrictive than that.
Perjury is lying under oath about things that is material (i.e. important) to the case.

The reason for this is simple. If there wasn't a rule like this, every court case about a fender-bender auto accident would begin with: "have you ever cheated on your spouse?". With wide-eyed hubby/wifey in the front row, the inclination to lie would be overwhelming, and court cases would be lost in the weeds over long ago affairs.

Insofar as the perjury charge here, however, a spammer testifying under oath that they don't even know how to spam clearly meets the test set out by law. However, State Rules of Evidence almost never allow introducing anything that was obtained illegally under state law, even if it would be legal under another State's statutes. So the recording cannot be used to impeach (authoritatively disprove) the spammer's testimony in a criminal case.

Spammers really do lie more often under oath... (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | about 6 years ago | (#25302655)

The entire quote at the top of this article seems ludicrous. Yes we all think spammers are scum, but this article is a waste of space. These days just about anyone who thinks they can get away with it will lie under oath when it suits them.

Defendants Who Lie != Perjury (1)

squozzer (871708) | about 6 years ago | (#25302809)

I cannot imagine a common law court that would prosecute a defendant for _saying_ he didn't commit a crime. By your reasoning, entering a "not guilty" plea and subsequently being found guilty would automatically infer perjury.

Re:Defendants Who Lie != Perjury (1)

theilliterate (1381151) | about 6 years ago | (#25303381)

IANAL, but I thought "not guilty" was a very different thing from "I didn't do it". "Not guilty", AFAIK, can refer to someone that did a deed, but is not responsible for their actions for some reason. A plea might also not be considered sworn testimony. Lying without being sworn in is no different than lying outside to reporters. Ethically questionable, but not a matter of law.

Death Penalty (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 years ago | (#25302987)

Your experience with judges just reinforces Sturgeon's Law. That's the reason I oppose a death penalty - it's not a matter of deservedness.

tell Judge Judith Eiler she's an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25303261)

judith.eiler@kingcounty.gov

Nice idea... (1)

bendodge (998616) | about 6 years ago | (#25303301)

It seems to me that Mr.Haselton has admirable goals, but arguing with judges about your improper legal procedure isn't going to work. Does he need to go to law school, hire a real lawyer, or what? Surely somebody here is a lawyer and can explain how Haselton (and others of us who might be so inclined) ought to go about suing spammers?

You were doing so well. (2, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 6 years ago | (#25303327)

You had me right up until

In fact, I don't think all perjurers should be prosecuted -- Clinton and Kilpatrick were lying to cover up extra-marital affairs, after all.

That is when you blew it. All perjurers should be prosecuted. That Clinton and Kilpatrick were covering up extra-marital affairs is irrelevant.

The two biggest problems with the laws today is that there are too many of them and that people wish to pick and choose which laws to enforce when. Either one enforces the law or one doesn't. Either the law applies to everyone, equally, or the law should apply to no one.

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