Leon Walker, 33, of Rochester Hills, Mich. is scheduled to go to trial on April 11 for hacking into his ex-wife’s email account, and then providing damaging information to an ex-husband. If convicted, he faces five years behind bars.
Walker was the third husband of Clara Walker, the woman whose email account was hacked. He was suspicious that she was having an affair with her second husband, who had been arrested for beating her in front of a child that she had with the first husband.
Walker used the wife’s password to get access to the wife’s Google account on a computer they shared, and found emails confirming that she was having an affair with the second husband.
Walker then provided the emails to the first husband who used them in a court filing, seeking custody of the child. Walker said he was trying to protect the child, who he was raising with the wife, from neglect.
After Clara Walker was made aware of the court filing and emails, she filed a complaint with the Oakland County Sheriff’s office, and the local district attorney issued an arrest warrant.
The charge was made under a state hacking law, which is mostly used when hackers steal information in cases of identity theft.
“It’s going to be interesting because there are no clear legal answers here,” said Frederick Lane, a Vermont attorney and nationally recognized expert who has published five books on electronic privacy. The fact that the two still were living together, and that Leon Walker had routine access to the computer, may help him, Lane said.
A number of defense attorneys were surprised by the filing of the criminal charges. “What’s the difference between that and parents who get on their kids’ Facebook accounts?” attorney Deborah McKelvy said. “You’re going to have to start prosecuting a whole bunch of parents.”
Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper says the felony computer misuse charge is justified. “The guy is a hacker,” Cooper said in a voice mail response to the Detroit Free Press. “It was password protected, he had wonderful skills, and was highly trained. Then he downloaded them and used them in a very contentious way.”
information from: Detroit Free Press