In Rochester Hills, Michigan, prosecutors have brought a highly controversial case — criminally charging a man for reading his ex-wife’s emails without her permission. Leon Walker, 33, could receive five years for the common act of logging on to his wife’s email, an act of snooping that disclosed that she was having an affair with another man. This is the first known time where a spouse or ex-spouse has been prosecuted under the law without any evidence of commercial theft. Yet, the office of Jessica Cooper (left) appears to want to create new precedent that would radically expand the reach of the law.
Oakland County prosecutors are using a criminal provision designed to prosecute identity theft and the theft of trade secrets.
Leon Walker shared a laptop with his wife, Clara Walker, and accessed her GMail account. They later divorced.
Putting aside the intent behind this law, the question is one of prosecutorial discretion and frankly over-reach. We have seen the gradual over-criminalization of America where every act — great or small — has been translated into some form of crime. For a previous column, click here. If this type of intrusion is criminal, millions of people would be felons. Without some evidence of a collateral crime such as identity theft, the prosecutors should have left this to the divorce courts. My assumption is that Ms. Cooper has other crimes to prosecute in Michigan.