Is Hacking Your Spouse’s Email Account Equivalent to “Domestic Violence” in Florida?

A husband discovered that his wife had accessed his email account and, according to him, she also threatened to shoot him.  So he sought a domestic violence injunction.  Ultimately, it appears that there was no evidence that the wife made the threat about the gun however, at the hearing, she admits to accessing the email account, making copies of some emails, and filing some of the information with the court.  The trial court likened the admitted behavior to cyberstalking and entered the domestic violence injunction.

But is accessing an email account the same as domestic violence?  In Florida, an injunction against domestic violence has to be premised upon some threat of imminent violence, which excludes mere uncivil behavior that causes distress or annoyance.  The First District concluded that the wife engaged in “improper behavior” but that it did not constitute domestic violence.  More specifically, the single episode of accessing a spouse’s email account did not meet the standards for harassment, stalking or even cyberstalking.

The First District’s opinion in Cheryl Young v. Michael Young is here.

For further examination of the issue, the only brief filed in the case is here.

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