Good News Bad News For Steve Warshak

The Cincinnati Enquire reports today that Steve Warshak, the founder of Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, may get a break on his criminal sentence. Warshak was convicted of fraud in connection with the sale of male enhancement pills. The federal court of appeals for the 6th Circuit, noting some defects in the trial court’s sentencing decision, has ordered a new hearing. In that same decision, the appellate court handed down a ruling that may have far greater reach. It ruled that federal authorities violated Warshak’s 4th Amendment rights when they obtained e-mail messages without a warrant. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group for online privacy rights, considers it a big deal. The federal Stored Communications Act permitted the warrantless seizure, but the Sixth Circuit found that “common sense” dictates that e-mail messages be given as much protection as snail mail and telephone calls. But the ruling was only good news in principle for Warshak. Because the feds proceeded in good faith reliance on the Stored Communications Act, the court refused to overturn Warshak’s conviction. Suffice to say, Warshak is not as happy as “Smiling Bob”, his famous Enzyte pitchman.