By Christy Strawser
CBS Detroit Managing Editor
Cuckholded husband Leon Walker's attempt to have the felony case against him dismissed for hacking into his wife's email failed Wednesday when the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled prosecutors have sufficient evidence to charge him with a crime.
Walker, of Rochester Hills, was charged with a five-year felony after accessing his estranged wife's email on a shared computer and using some of the information in their divorce proceedings. He told the court he "guessed" her password.
Walker, her third husband, reportedly discovered in his snooping that she was having an affair with her second husband.
Walker also printed emails and delivered them to his wife's first ex-husband, who was embroiled in a child custody dispute with her. The ex tried to use the documents to prove neglect.
Walker, an Oakland County Information Technology employee, sought to have the case against him dismissed, arguing the statute under which he was charged "prohibits the unauthorized access of computers, computer programs, computers systems, and computer networks, and that an email account does not fall under any of those categories," according to court documents.
The circuit court disagreed, ruling that "Gmail is a computer system and, although the statute does not refer to email, the district court analogized the case to a felonious assault where a gun was used but an item such as a bullet or gun powder that is not specifically named in the statute harmed the victim."
After his appeal failed, Walker could face trial February 7 on computer misuse charges -- unless he takes his case to the Supreme Court. And he may do just that.
Walker's attorney Leon Weiss told WWJ Newsradio he plans to appeal to the Supreme Court, but he hopes the matter is handled legislatively. Weiss has a "custom made proposed law" pending in Lansing that would make reading a spouse's email no longer a crime. He hopes it gets approved by the legislature before the case winds its way to the high court.
At the Appeals Court level, legal analyst and Talk Radio 1270 morning show host Charlie Langton said he's surprised at the decision.
"I think in this day and age we should prosecute people for real crimes that involve misuse of your position for personal gain," Langton said.
He also thinks it's an issue for family court, and not criminal court.
"The criminal court should not interfere in what appears to be a very messy divorce," Langton said.
Oakland County spokesman Bill Mullin said Wednesday that Walker is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the case.
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