NEWS

Man Who Snooped on Wife’s E-mails Cleared of Cybercrime Charges

By Carlton Purvis

Prosecutors have dropped all charges against Leon Walker, the Michigan man accused of cybercrime for snooping into his wife’s e-mails.

Chief assistant prosecutor for Oakland County Paul Walton said charges were dropped Thursday morning. Walker says he received notification by phone.

The case began after Walker suspected his wife was being unfaithful, logged into her e-mail, and printed out e-mails between her and a friend that confirmed her infidelity. He was later arrested and charged with a felony normally reserved for hackers.

Prosecutors said he violated a Michigan law that says a person cannot “intentionally and without authorization” access a computer, computer program, computer network, or computer system, to “acquire, alter, damage, delete, or destroy property.”

In December, Walker tried unsuccessfully to get the charges dropped. I interviewed him about the case back in February. A 14-year IT professional, Walker said he was operating under the assumption that he could look at information stored on his own computer in his own house and that he was confident at the time that he wasn’t doing anything illegal. The courts saw it differently saying that not only was he accessing information that wasn’t his, but that the information was on Google’s servers, not his computer.

Prosecutors dropped the cybercrime charges on Friday after they learned his wife, Clara, had been snooping as well. In my interview with Walker, he said not only did she snoop through text messages on his phone and open his mail, but once used a GPS tracking device on his vehicle.

“The attorney representing her in a custody battle with Leon Walker over their daughter gave prosecutors a CD of e-mails from Clara Walker admitting she had been reading text messages on his phone while the two were married in 2009,” the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

He wasn’t out of the woods yet. From Saturday's Free Press story:

Prosecutors, however, plan to proceed with a second charge against Leon Walker, accusing the computer technician for Oakland County of attempting to access a confidential law enforcement database, a violation of state law.

Walton says prosecutors were provided information that Walker, a city IT employee, was banned from CLEMIS, a  government database used for manging court and law enforcement data. They later discovered that Walker was never told not to access the system.

On his blog Thursday, Walker announced that all charges against him had been dropped.

“I battled with that monstrous grizzly bear and after almost two and a half years of struggle, that bear has been put down,” he wrote.

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