Too many lawyers

We definitely have a lawyer problem in America.

Leon Walker, a 33-year-old computer technician who also works for Oakland County government, said in an interview with the paper that he was motivated to read the e-mails because he suspected his wife, Clara, of having an affair with her second husband (Leon was her third). He also says he believed she was taking the couple’s 1-year-old daughter to the other man’s house during her liaisons. This concerned him, he said, because his wife had previously told him that the second husband had abused her physically, sometimes in the presence of another child, a boy, whom she had with her first husband.

Jessica Cooper describes herself, on official Oakland County stationery, as being “a pioneer in the world of women in the law.” The pioneering principle she is championing in Mr. Walker’s case is that any husband (or wife?) who reads their spouse’s e-mail — or, presumably, who accesses their Facebook pages — without prior permission is committing a felony.

This is a dubious assertion: Michigan has a hacking law that prevents — on penalty of spending up to five years in prison — third parties from breaking into computers or computer programs, but it wouldn’t seem to apply in a case such as this one. For one thing, Walker purchased the laptop in his home, and it was used by both him and his wife. His “hacking” consisted solely of typing the password to his wife’s Gmail account, which he said she kept conveniently in a book beside the computer.

In an interview Monday with Laura Berman of the Detroit News, Cooper sounded annoyed that this case has gone viral. “This is one of 20,000 cases,” she complained. By way of justification for the decision to pursue this criminal case, the Oakland County prosecutor also said simply, “We have a hacking.”

As Berman herself pointed out in her column, “we” also seem to have an adultery — and that behavior is still on the books as constituting a crime in Michigan. Not to give Cooper any additional ideas, but no charges were filed against Clara Walker.

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