The state Court of Appeals has put on hold a felony computer hacking charge against a Rochester Hills man who read his wife’s e-mail.
But the court will let a charge of illegally accessing CLEMIS, a law enforcement computer system, stand against Leon Walker, 33.
“This court concluded that serious questions exist as to whether this felony criminal statute was intended to be applied to domestic relations cases of the sort presented here,” the court panel said Monday in a unanimous opinion by E. Thomas Fitzgerald, Kathleen Jansen and Henry William Saad.
The court ordered the trial judge, Martha Anderson, to file an order explaining why she believed the statute should be used, and gave her within 35 days to file it.
Walker’s attorney, Leon Weiss, said the appellate decision sends a message to the prosecutors and the courts: “It says the circuit court was dead wrong in not throwing this out.”
He said he would take the CLEMIS matter back to the Court of Appeals on Wednesday if prosecutors try to proceed to trial.
“That case is even more frivolous than the first case,” he said.
Paul Walton, chief Oakland County assistant prosecutor, said the trial on the CLEMIS matter would proceed Thursday, while they await the appellate decision on the hacking case.
“He accessed CLEMIS, a criminal investigative database. It’s against the law,” Walton said.
In the CLEMIS matter, Walker said he asked county officials how the system worked, and they showed him, because he was preparing a Freedom of Information Act letter to find out whether anyone else in the county had been charged with reading a spouse’s e-mail. None have.
Walker, a computer technician for Oakland County, also was to go to trial Thursday on the hacking charge.
He suspected his wife, Clara, was having an affair, and in the summer of 2009, he read her Gmail account on the family computer, using a password he said she kept in a notebook.
Walker then learned that his wife 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. Walker shared the e-mail with the first husband, who included it in his child custody fight.
The couple, who share a child, have since divorced. Walker has insisted he shared the e-mail with the first husband because he was worried the child would be subject to more domestic violence.
The story has made international headlines.
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