Recent charges filed by Oakland County prosecutors have defense attorneys and many others scratching their heads. A thirty three year old man is facing criminal charges for accessing his former wife’s email account on the family computer prior to their divorce. He discovered she was having an affair with a previously abusive man and took action to protect the woman’s son.
This particular marriage was the woman’s third. Her second husband was her new object of affection and had previously been arrested for beating her in front of her son. The third husband, upon realizing who she was having an affair with, shared the email information with the first husband, father to the woman’s son.
Now, for doing what he thought was the “right” thing in regards to the child and the integrity of his marriage, he faces a February court date for felony charges.
The crime he is being charged with was added to Michigan statutes to protect against hackers and attempts at identity theft. It isn’t clear if it’s ever been used in this capacity before and it’s applicability to this situation is being seriously scrutinized.
The Oakland County prosecutor is defending her choice to bring charges, calling the defendant a “hacker”. The defense lawyer on the case calls her analysis of the situation “dead wrong”.
The defendant claims the computer was the family computer and was kept in a common area. He states he routinely used the computer for work and his wife actually kept a book with her password right next to the machine. If all this is true, her reasonable expectation of privacy should be a main issue at trial.
Even the ex-wife admits the man was the one who purchased the computer.
Where do we draw the line on privacy in this technological age. People can go on social networks and share their most private moments with the world, but a man cannot access an email account on his own computer and use that information to protect a child and the integrity of his marriage?
It seems this application of the law is a perversion of its intent and like the defense attorney on the case asks, “Don’t the prosecutors have more important things to do with their time?”
When you are facing charges, it’s not unusual at all to feel like they aren’t being applied fairly. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney you can trust will help you get an objective opinion of your case and the potential penalties you might be facing.