A Michigan man seeks criminal defense as he faces up to five years in prison for accessing his soon to be ex-wife’s email account. The man is being prosecuted under a Michigan state anti-hacking law normally enforced to punish individuals who have hacked into a government or private business computer system. The man accessed his wife’s email account to confirm whether or not his wife was having an affair.
The 33-year-old man accessed his wife’s email and learned that she was having an affair with her second husband who had been arrested for physically abusing the woman in front of the woman’s young son. The 33-year-old is the woman’s third husband. When the 33-year-old learned of his wife’s infidelity with her second husband he worried that her son would be exposed to domestic violence again. Because of the threat, he gave the emails to the child’s father, his wife’s first husband. The father of the child then filed an emergency child custody motion. The 33-year-old was arrested in February 2009 after his wife learned that he had given emails to his wife’s first husband. The woman then filed for divorce which was concluded this month.
The prosecutor handling the criminal case characterized the man as a hacker and said that the man used his computer technician skills to gain access to a password protected email account. The 33-year-old’s criminal defense attorney said that the statute that the man is being prosecuted under is meant to protect government information and private business trade secrets and protect against identity fraud. The 33-year-old said that they shared the same family computer and that his wife’s passwords were kept in a small book next to the computer.
Responding to what he had done after being released on bond, the man said he did what he had to do to keep a child out of danger.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “Is Reading Wife’s Email a Crime? Rochester Hills Man Faces Trial,” L.L. Brasier, 12/26/10