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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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What the....
By Breathless on 12/28/2010 12:25:02 PM , Rating: 5
Shinanigans!

What a load of crap. Since when is it against the law to read (or print out) your wifes emails - with her permission or not?




RE: What the....
By SiliconJon on 12/28/2010 12:30:59 PM , Rating: 5
Is marriage not the UNION of two into one? So would it also be a felony to crack your own password? Egads...


RE: What the....
By Ragingbull36 on 12/28/2010 12:39:18 PM , Rating: 5
Its only a Union when it benefits the lesser half. The wife probably got half his retirement after she cheated on him and then sent him off to hang in this BS charge. Ya im bitter and have had it done to me and seen it done countless times. Not saying it doesn’t happen to women about 5 percent of the time.


RE: What the....
By Hiawa23 on 12/28/2010 1:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
Take out the cheating part but if the law is misuse then he violated the law, based on the info we have. Either he will be found guilty or it will get thrown out. Seems like for most bad things come from marriage, especially when it goes sour which is why I don't believe in it at all.


RE: What the....
By Lerianis on 12/28/2010 2:02:41 PM , Rating: 5
True. I agree about marriage and the misuse of the law in question here, but a judge can easily say "Hey, it was not meant to apply in this case!" and amend the law by judicial decision/interpretation of the law.


RE: What the....
By Dr of crap on 12/28/2010 1:00:21 PM , Rating: 3
Absolute crap.
And I am not surprized. The courts are full of cases that should be even considered. WE the tax payers have to foot the bill for these counter productive cases.

Wouldn't it make sence to have a pretrail overview of cases presented to the courts, and if they look shady, like this one does, then they say no to a trail at all!
Save money all around! Keep the case load down.


RE: What the....
By artemicion on 12/28/2010 1:12:43 PM , Rating: 3
Funny how everybody believes the Defendant's version of the facts simply because that's how the media is spinning this story. From the prosecutors comments, it seems that they are accusing him of doing more than logging in with his wife's saved password. Has anybody here actually read the indictment?


RE: What the....
By Yames on 12/28/2010 1:28:56 PM , Rating: 5
Even if he used a key logger, does that make it unlawful? First, it was their computer and second it was his wife's email account.

I can open up my wife's mail even if she locks it in a box in our house and I pick the lock, can't I?


RE: What the....
By priusone on 12/28/2010 2:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it depends on what state you live in and how much money your spouse has in their war chest.


RE: What the....
By Anoxanmore on 12/28/2010 4:14:47 PM , Rating: 1
No you cannot open someone else's mail if it is not addressed to you.

I thought it was common knowledge that this, opening another person's mail, is a federal offense.


RE: What the....
By deltaend on 12/28/2010 5:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by Anoxanmore on December 28, 2010 at 4:14 PM

No you cannot open someone else's mail if it is not addressed to you.

I thought it was common knowledge that this, opening another person's mail, is a federal offense.


Federal delivered mail is not equal to electronically delivered email. They are far different with very different sets of rules. It is not a federal offense to read someone else's email, print it out, or deliver it to someone else. It could fall under other laws, but that is why this is a "grey area".


RE: What the....
By Anoxanmore on 12/28/2010 5:43:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
by deltaend on December 28, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Federal delivered mail is not equal to electronically delivered email. They are far different with very different sets of rules. It is not a federal offense to read someone else's email, print it out, or deliver it to someone else. It could fall under other laws, but that is why this is a "grey area".


Well I was replying to this one... =^-^=

quote:

By Yames on 12/28/2010 1:28:56 PM

I can open up my wife's mail even if she locks it in a box in our house and I pick the lock, can't I?


RE: What the....
By HrilL on 12/29/2010 5:20:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure. A married couple are considered 'one person' in the eyes of the Law. This is the reason a husband can't be forced to testify against his wife, and a wife can't be forced to testify against her husband.

Its also why if one spouse gets sue both must foot the bill.


RE: What the....
By tmouse on 1/3/2011 8:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong.

Even with US mail once it’s delivered the government has no concern/say what so ever in the matter. It has been upheld many times that ANYTHING left on your desk at work other than items in a case or handbag loses any expectation of privacy, so your boss can read your mail if you leave it on your desk. Where he could be in trouble is disseminating the information to a third party. E-mail has NEVER had an expectation of privacy since in theory it goes through many hands. Whoever pays for the email owns it, so in this case they both probably own the mail. A shared computer and the fact she stored the password further diminishes the claim to privacy. Your mail provider can also check your mail with no repercussions, that’s why Google offers free email. Now disclosing the information to others is a different matter.


RE: What the....
By Breathless on 12/28/2010 2:15:20 PM , Rating: 5
It doesn't matter what the plaintiffs argument is, because she's a whore.


RE: What the....
By Hexus on 12/28/2010 4:11:43 PM , Rating: 3
You sir, deserve a 6.


RE: What the....
By Breathless on 12/28/2010 5:13:16 PM , Rating: 5
Ahhh, my first nomination for a 6 - thank you kind sir. I would also like to thank the dirty whore who made it all possible.


RE: What the....
By fijillian on 12/28/2010 9:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
Hahaha "Thank the whore who made it possible" *High 5"


RE: What the....
By RjBass on 12/28/2010 7:25:07 PM , Rating: 1
Wow, that is the funniest thing I have read all day. Def worth a 6.


RE: What the....
By Alexvrb on 12/28/2010 11:35:49 PM , Rating: 4
Apparentely she likes a good beating too. Maybe if husband #3 had also beat her, she wouldn't have gone back to husband #2 for more beatings. So CLEARLY it is the defendent's fault for not beating her. Guilty, lock him up!


RE: What the....
By Samus on 12/29/10, Rating: -1
RE: What the....
By mydogfarted on 12/29/2010 10:10:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.


*cough* reading comprehension fail *cough*


absurd
By magreen on 12/28/2010 12:16:16 PM , Rating: 5
What an egregious abuse of prosecutorial discretion.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper should be hauled out in the media and publicly shamed for this abuse, until they severely reprimand her and drop the charges.




RE: absurd
By Samus on 12/28/2010 12:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
What we're not hearing about is the roll of Clara's first husband in this. Who is he to have the power in getting this snowball rolling?


RE: absurd
By Suntan on 12/28/2010 2:42:37 PM , Rating: 5
I’m guessing the first husband is the child’s biological father. In which case he would have every right to fight for sole custody if someone else (3rd husband) informed him with credible evidence that the mother is potentially subjecting his child to an abusive home setting.

-Suntan


RE: absurd
By KentState on 12/28/2010 12:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
Seems that prosecutors like this want to set some legal precedence and railroad a man that is trying to protect children. Guess having her name out there is more important than the merits of the charges.


RE: absurd
By Yames on 12/28/2010 1:23:53 PM , Rating: 3
"skilled hacker" what just because he is a computer tech? I bet he used cached/saved credentials, and when is it unlawful to read your spouses correspondence. This whole thing stinks of the prosecutors personal agenda.


RE: absurd
By bah12 on 12/28/2010 1:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and when is it unlawful to read your spouses correspondence
It really all depends on the state law. Some states treat a married couple as "one", and everything is communal property. In my state this absolutely would not fly as SHE or I have no belongings only WE do. Some states are not this way, and not everything is communal.


RE: absurd
By Yames on 12/28/2010 1:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's the same in my state as well. I can see this being an issue if the state law does not consider correspondence communal property. If that is the case then sure he was invading her privacy, although I still personally disagree with that stance as it blurs the lines of what a married couple is.


RE: absurd
By bah12 on 12/28/2010 3:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
FYI...Of course now that I've actually looked it up this is not a community property state, so as I suspected the state law here is not the same. Found out something interesting only 9 states are community property, I would have guessed far more.


RE: absurd
By tmouse on 1/3/2011 8:40:11 AM , Rating: 2
Community property has nothing to do with the legal status of a married couple, it’s merely the way property is divided after divorce (communal = 50/50 separate is by percentage contributed by each person). Even without community property email is not protected. If it were Google would be out of business. A shared computer and a cached password would also destroy such a claim.


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.


B.S.!!!!
By Ragingbull36 on 12/28/2010 12:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
Jessica Cooper should be fined for the amount of money this has already cost the Tax Payers. What a joke, but yet “A pioneer in the world of women in the law” according to oakgov.org she just set women back to the time they weren’t allowed to vote….




RE: B.S.!!!!
By chick0n on 12/28/2010 1:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
RE: B.S.!!!!
By rhuarch on 1/6/2011 2:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
You can send questions to the Oakland County, Michigan Law Library here.

http://www.oakgov.com/egov0003/asklibrarianlaw.jsp

Let the flood begin...

This was the most appropriate contact link I could find on their wob site.


What about AT&T
By TechIsGr8 on 12/28/2010 1:09:09 PM , Rating: 5
AT&T released private emails to the government, without any court order, yet the government said this wasn't illegal. I don't understand how this man's actions could be considered illegal, if AT&T's more egregious actions were legal.




Stretching to say that the CHILD was in danger
By Lerianis on 12/28/2010 2:05:38 PM , Rating: 1
When this second husband of the woman in question had only raised his hand to the mother/wife in question.

That isn't going to be allowed in court, it is prejudicial and has no bearing on the case, to be blunt.

Now, if they had any proof that the man had raised his hand to the child (at all, even for spanking) THEN I would say that could be brought into the court as a justification for the 'intrusion' into computer systems.




By morphologia on 12/28/2010 2:29:37 PM , Rating: 3
That's ridiculous...any history of abuse in the presence of the child, even abuse of someone else, is a plausible argument for child endangerment.

And I'm willing to bet the only reason she has custody is to bleed child support from husband # 1. She is a serial parasite.


Bottom line is...
By morphologia on 12/28/2010 2:26:46 PM , Rating: 3
...guys have to stop marrying this woman. She's like an entry from the Jerry Springer Hall of Shame.

If reason prevails, he will gain custody of the child and the charges will fall flat, thus depriving her of undeserved child support payments and the last scrap of her credibility.




jezeeebus
By Shadowmaster625 on 12/28/2010 4:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
How does something like this even get to trial? No way any jury is going to convict on that garbage.




By omgwtf8888 on 12/30/2010 12:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
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.




Game, set, match
By Wererat on 1/3/2011 9:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
"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."

This should be the beginning and end of this trial. Her email was as private as if she'd printed it and left it lying on the desk.

I certainly don't have any expectations that my wife wouldn't have access at will to my e-mail (or phone msgs, social networking stuff, whatever) and vice versa.




Retarded . .
By blueboy09 on 12/30/2010 2:58:29 PM , Rating: 1
Why in the hell is the justice system so warped these days? If their e-mail was shared, then this case will be thrown out. This lawyer bitch wants to settle her own selfish propaganda by using the first husband as a pawn to get child custody so that the e-wife is automatically the victim here, when it should be visa-versa. Man, I'm glad I don't live in Michigan cause their laws are too warped, hmm, must be the cold weather! - BLUEBOY




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