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Leon Walker  (Source: CBS News)
Leon Walker goes to trial February 7

A Michigan man is going to trial for a felony charge after logging onto his now ex-wife's Gmail account and reading her emails, where he found that she was cheating on him. 

Leon Walker, 33, a resident of Rochester Hills, Michigan and computer technician with Oakland County, could be sentenced up to five years in prison for a felony computer misuse charge, which is an Internet law made to protect against identity theft and stealing of trade secrets. 

Walker logged on to a laptop that both he and his then-wife, Clara Walker, had shared. Her password was supposedly saved in the Gmail login. What Walker had found was that Clara was allegedly cheating on him with a previous husband.

Clara was married twice before marrying Walker. The emails Walker found suggested that Clara was having an affair with her second husband, who was arrested at an earlier time for beating Clara in front of her son from her first marriage. 

In an attempt to avoid any more possible domestic violence, and to protect the child from having to witness or be apart of it, Walker printed the emails and gave them to Clara's first husband. He then filed an emergency motion to obtain custody of the child. 

In February 2009, Walker was arrested for giving Clara's first husband the emails. Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper decided to charge Walker, calling him a skilled "hacker" who obtained the emails in a "contentious way."

"I was doing what I had to do," said Walker in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. "We're talking about putting a child in danger."

Walker has been out on bond since "shortly after his arrest." His divorce with Clara was final earlier this month, and he is now facing a trial for the felony computer misuse charge on Feb. 7. 

According to Leon Weiss, who represents Walker in the felony computer misuse case, Walker is being wrongly charged, since this Internet law is meant to specifically target those who hack government computers. 

"If the Michigan legislature had wanted to prohibit one spouse living under the same roof, with a shared computer, from reading a spouse's email, they could have constructed the statute to prohibit that," said Weiss during an interview with the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. "There is no real expectation of privacy in email. It's too out there."

Clara's representative during the divorce proceedings, Michael McCulloch, refused to comment on the felony charges against Walker.

Frederick Lane, an electronic privacy expert, reported to the Detroit Free Press that this whole case is a "legal grey area," and that Walker may have a chance at a good outcome since the laptop was shared.


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This is a setup
By GatoRat on 12/28/2010 12:48:36 PM , Rating: 4
A commenter on a legal site opined that under Michigan law you can avoid a 50/50 split in marital property if one spouse has committed a felony. This sounds like the lawyer of the soon-to-be-ex-wife is setting up the husband for this very thing. Hopefully a judge will see right through it and dismiss this with prejudice.

(I suspect under Michigan law, spousal and parental rights override this law. Otherwise, any parent monitoring their child or simply doing maintenance on a computer and clearly out files would be committing a felony.)




RE: This is a setup
By Nutzo on 12/28/2010 1:00:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
A commenter on a legal site opined that under Michigan law you can avoid a 50/50 split in marital property if one spouse has committed a felony. This sounds like the lawyer of the soon-to-be-ex-wife is setting up the husband for this very thing. Hopefully a judge will see right through it and dismiss this with prejudice.


This is the first item on this case I've read that makes sense. The lawyers are playing a game to benefit the wife, and the prosocuter is playing along due to her misguided personal agenda. Hopefully he gets a reasonable judge, but since this is Michigan, I wouldn;t count on it.


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