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Snooping In Spouse's E-mail: A Felony?


Snooping in your spouse’s e-mail could get you in a lot of trouble, one Michigan man has discovered.

Leon Walker faces felony charges for intentionally logging into his then-wife’s Gmail account on a shared computer. Leon Walker discovered his wife Clara Walker, who had been married twice previously, was having an affair with her second husband by reading her e-mails.

Leon Walker says that he was worried about the affair for reasons that went beyond simply cheating—he said that he was concerned about domestic abuse due to the ex-husband's history. The ex-husband had been arrested for beating Clara Walker in front of her young son. Leon Walker told the Detroit Free Press that he handed the e-mails to the boy’s father, his wife’s first husband. Leon Walker was arrested after his wife learned that he had been in her e-mail account.

Leon Walker is being accused of breaking a law that’s used to prosecute identity theft. He has been charged with felony computer misuse, and faces up to five years in prison if convicted. His trial begins February 7.

The Walkers finalized their divorce this month. The case is bringing up questions of privacy between a married couple and a shared computer.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2011 at 10:23 AM
    Lets take this a step further.... a woman can have an abortion and not tell her husband.. and that privacy is OK? come on..lets level the playing field....its all or nothing
  • by NickP Location: Nevada on Dec 31, 2010 at 11:07 PM
    Why would anybody marry with the understanding that either member to a marriage is entitled to keep secrets? Secrets has invariably been the source of unending upsets... then, discovered secrets of betrayals compound on top of the secret, to make a situation explosive. Then, what man, or woman for that matter, wouldn't want to confirm any suspicion of betrayal any way one could? Would hiring a private detective to spy on him/her not also be the same kind of transgression as reading his/her email? Using the "privacy law" against a spouse is irrational, isn't it?
  • by gabriel Location: cali on Dec 31, 2010 at 10:23 AM
    they are married so the computer is a shared property. if the man answered a phone call from his wifes abusive ex, then is he violating her privacy. And im sure she left her account logged on so thats her fault. So if he listened to an answering machine message that was intended for her is he violating her privacy. I think not! Its time that we the people start absolving laws that are ridiculous and only serve a fluke minority. Should we all give up our freedoms for security? Start changing laws on a local level. get involved. WE can change things starting with us and working our way to them, it works better than from the top down.
  • by TJ on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:31 AM
    @ Britt-this is a privacy issue but within a marriage, that is a moral issue not a right to privacy. Your spouse sees you naked, sees your mail, sees your bank information, hears your conversations. Based on your opinion, if a husband walks into a room and hears his wife's phone conversation without having been given prior approval to listen, he is invading her privacy and should be fined and it should be used to set an example. Sure-that makes not really. His actions may have been morally wrong but not criminal and this SHOULD be used as an example for how ridiculous these charges are.
  • by LK Location: Colorado on Dec 30, 2010 at 06:28 AM
    Unfortunately Watcher1, that doesn't always work, the whole gut feeling. I got called crazy when I told my ex that I had "gut feeling" he was doing something with someone else. I am not going to say how I found out about his affair, but he had to be confronted with the evidence in order for him to admit to it, then I divorced him.
  • by Britt Location: Afganistan on Dec 30, 2010 at 12:06 AM
    It is all about the invasion of privacy. No one should have the right to read your emails, unless granted approval, any more than they are allowed to read your mail. Reading other peoples mail, and that includes spouses, is heavily regulated and fined. Those same regulations should also cover email as well. Private corespondance between two consenting people should be protected, even in marriage. Although though her morally wrong adultery was uncovered, there is nothing illegal to her actions. His though, should be used to set a presidence to show that we take our privacy seriously.
  • by Watcher1 Location: Arizona on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:30 AM
    Hi Folks, It is increasingly obvious that whatever activity you believe you have a right to engage in, never, ever admit you have done it. Use words like, hypothetically that could have unintentionally happened but I can't attest to it. OR if confronting someone, when you have accidentally seen their e-mail, "I am more and more concerned because of a gut feeling that xxx xxx,or my psychic senses tell me that xxx xxx. Think, then engage mouth carefully, if at all. The courts are run by the insane.
  • by annoyed Location: colorado springs on Dec 29, 2010 at 07:23 AM
    Let me get this straight, illegal aliens can randomly choose a ss# and use it to get a job (even if they randomly choose yours)and it is not identity theft but a husband logs into his wifes gmail and it is identity theft? What a screwed up legal system. I won't say what he did was a good choice, but certainly not possible 5 years in prison.
  • by @ Nicole on Dec 28, 2010 at 09:27 PM
    Since when is adultery illegal? I wish! Then my ex would be where he SHOULD be after all the people he cheated on and with! No-they call it "irreconcilable differences" in the USA. There are some places it is illegal-like military, however my ex is/was military and they didn't charge him with conduct unbecoming of an officer.
  • by Han Location: NJ on Dec 28, 2010 at 04:50 PM
    This is really getting ridiculous. Talk about protecting privacy of an individual and yet the government has no respect of the privacey of married spouses. What the married spouses do is none of their business. What if the wife ask her husband to open her email account and check something for her? Would that be a felony? This is really going too far and it would be invading the privacy of married spouses.
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