Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
United States of America v. Matthew Joseph Kammersell
No. 2:97-CR-84C, 1998 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8719 (D. Utah, June 3, 1998)
Defendant was indicted for sending a bomb threat in violation of 18 U.S.C. §875, which makes it a crime to transmit such a threat in interstate commerce. From his computer in Utah, defendant sent an e-mail containing his threat to another Utah resident. Because defendant's ISP was AOL, the e-mail traveled from defendant's computer in Utah, to an AOL computer in Virginia, before reaching the victim in Utah.
The defendant argued that this was a transmission in interstate commerce, and moved for the dismissal of his indictment. The court disagreed and, adopting the report and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, concluded that defendant had made a threat in interstate commerce in violation of the statute. The court further concluded that the exercise by Congress of jurisdiction over crimes committed in this fashion was appropriate, because of its power under the Commerce Clause "to protect against misuse of the means and instrumentalities of interstate commerce."
The court noted that other courts had disagreed as to whether a transmission of this kind was a transmission in interstate commerce. As stated above, the court elected to side with those that held that e-mails of the type at issue were transmissions in interstate commerce.