David Kernell, the hacker that went into Sara Palin’s Yahoo email account in the weeks before the 2008 Presidential Election has been convicted, and is facing sentencing on November 12th. His convictions are for of misdemeanor computer intrusion and a felony count of obstruction of justice, offenses that carry penalties of 15-21 months jail time and up to $250,000 in fines (the Government is asking for him to get 18 months in jail). Kernell’s attorney is pressing for a sentence of “time served,” based on the following argument:
In a motion filed with the court (.pdf) this week, his attorney asserted that although his client might have deleted evidence, this should be balanced against the fact that he didn’t destroy the computer entirely or get rid of it.
“The proof showed that Mr. Kernell very quickly took actions that resulted in the evidence being preserved,” defense attorney Wade Davies wrote. He also said that his client’s behavior was an “aberration” from his normal conduct and that the “public humiliation, trial and felony conviction” his client had endured were enough to deter him from future crimes.
“General deterrence has been achieved in this case by educating the public that accessing another’s e-mail account is conduct that violates federal law,” Davies wrote.
Got that? If his client were really trying to delete evidence, he would have gotten rid of the computer or destroy it… Let’s call this the “Pity please, my client is not good at destroying evidence” defense.