Mich. man faces trial for e-mail snooping

Dec. 26, 2010 at 12:18 PM
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ROCHESTER, Mich., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A Michigan man's lawyer says prosecutors are wrong to charge him under a hacking statute for snooping in his wife's e-mail account.

Leon Walker, 33, of Rochester faces trial in February for discovering his wife, Clara, was having an affair by reading her e-mail.

"I've been a defense attorney for 34 years and I've never seen anything like this," attorney Leon Weiss told the Detroit Free Press. "This is a hacking statute, the kind of statute they use if you try to break into a government system or private business for some nefarious purpose."

But other legal observers were not quite so convinced. The Free Press said Sunday the idea of prosecuting family snooping to hacking. "I would guess there is enough gray area to suggest that she could not have an absolute expectation of privacy," said Frederick Lane, a Vermont attorney and author of five books on electronic privacy.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper countered that Clara Walker's e-mail was password protected and required her husband's skills as a computer technician for the county to gain access. "The guy is a hacker," she told the Free Press.

The newspaper noted that 45 percent of divorce cases in the United States have an element of electronic snooping, including reading e-mails and monitoring Facebook or other social media sites.

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