December 29, 2011

Man charged with felony for reading wife's e-mail ready to take case to Michigan Supreme Court

12-29-2011 Michigan:

A Rochester Hills man charged with a five-year felony for reading his wife's e-mail pledged Wednesday to take the matter to the state's highest court after a lower court refused to dismiss the charge.

In a written opinion released Wednesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that Leon Walker should proceed to trial on charges that he gained unlawful access to then-wife Clara Walker's Gmail account in summer 2009.

His arrest in 2010 prompted widespread outrage and a national debate about computer privacy in the marital home.

In Wednesday's decision, the three-member appellate panel said Michigan's computer hacking law has "no spousal exception," and the law as written applies to Leon Walker's case. The judges also noted that discussions are under way in Michigan's Legislature to amend the law to exclude spouses.

"However, unless and until such legislation occurs, this court is left with the statute as written," the court said in its decision.

Walker, 34 -- a computer technician for Oakland County who is currently on leave during the criminal case -- said he and his attorney will keep fighting the charges. He has 41 days to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

"What this court did was in effect take the prosecutor's argument and put their names on it," he said. "We're very disappointed."

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said the Court of Appeals decision is in keeping with the law.

"This was never a domestic case, a husband and wife thing," she said. "This was a computer hacking case. The guy is a hacker."

The appellate court also let stand a charge that Walker attempted to access a law enforcement data bank.

The story first made headlines after Walker, Clara Walker's third husband, read his wife's e-mail because he believed she was having an affair with her second husband -- a man who had been arrested for beating her in front of a child she had with her first husband. The e-mails proved the affair.

Leon Walker remains free on bond. ..Source.. by L.L. Brasier

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