Divorce & hacking into your spouse’s email: Don’t do it in Michigan you can land in jail! Spousal spying. Spousal snooping. Spousal espionage a crime.
I was just watching Nightline and saw a story we covered last week about this man, Leon Walker, who is on trial for reading his wife Clara Walker’s email without her permission – to prove she was having an affair – and apparently, in doing so, he ran afoul of an anti-computer hacking law in the state of Michigan.
Leon is facing 5 years in jail for “hacking” into his wife’s computer to prove that she was having an affair and possibly exposing his young daughter to a man (her second husband) she had previously accused of physical violence against her.
The computer was a shared computer in their home and Leon says he got his wife’s password from a book she left next to the shared computer. Nevertheless, he is facing 5 years in Michigan under an anti-hacking law that is usually reserved for strangers who hack into other people’s email accounts and credit card accounts.
It appears Leon’s wife was indeed having an affair with her second husband, based on what she said during her interview on Nightline; but that is irrelevant. It is her husband who will be tried for a crime of computer hacking. The trial is scheduled to commence on Valentine’s Day, ironically enough.
Leon, a government employee explained how he was handcuffed at his place of employment and taken in handcuffs to be booked in jail after his wife leveled the charges about him hacking into her email. The prosecutor in the case is said to be firm in her view that what Mr. Walker did was equivalent to a perfect stranger hacking into another’s email accounts, or credit card fraud. She sees what Mr. Walker did as a harbinger of other hard core crimes he could commit against other innocent third parties whom he does not even know and she wants to protect innocent bystanders from Leon’s hacking fingers.
However, I don’t know if I am buying this argument. The elephant in the room is race in this case, IMHO. All the stereotypes are there, including the wife, the cheater, calling her African American husband “angry.” She is the one who claims she felt “violated” when he read her emails and she was the one who was so angered by his discovery of the affair and jeopardized her custody of her son, that she leveled these charges against him in the first place. He seemed perfectly even tempered, and she, frankly emoted very impressively on cue. She cried profusely about the fact that her husband read her email. What a bad boy.
It is not that I’m saying spouses don’t have a right to privacy with each other. But this is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. Many have admitted that the case amounts to nothing more than a “waste of taxpayer’s money” and I would have to say that would be my characterization based on the facts presented thus far. If that is all they have on this guy, this is a very weak case and it never should have been brought in the first place. In fact, according to Nightline, a legislator has vowed to seek an amendment to the law that would make snooping by spouses and parents exempt from prosecution in a similar situation as Leon Walker.
Good luck to him. He’s gotten himself into a bit of a pickle with this one; and he clearly married the wrong woman too. Hopefully, post-divorce, he will vet his next wife a little bit more carefully.