Michigan Man Charged with Felony for Seeking Adulterous Emails in Wife's Account
December 28, 2010 12:27 PM
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(Source: CBS News)
Leon Walker goes to trial February 7
man is going to trial for a felony charge after logging onto his now ex-wife's Gmail account and reading her
, 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
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
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Interesting legal questions to be decided here
12/30/2010 12:31:40 PM
If the email account was made during the marriage, could it be community property and as such half his. As the password was left stored on a computer in the husbands possession, it could be argued that all software, passwords and email accounts are his. This case could establish some crazy interesting legal precedents.
It is interesting that the FBI conducts surveilance on people to protect children from harm, yet this guy does the same and gets arrested.
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