25 Jun Court reinstates identity-theft charge in e-mail case
A felony identity-theft charge should be reinstated against a Jefferson County man accused of hacking into his boss’ computer and circulating e-mails under the boss’ name describing an affair he was having, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
The man’s boss, Mark Fisher, committed suicide the day after the e-mails were circulated.
The criminal case against Christopher Baron, 33, has been on hold pending the decision.
Baron argued that the charge of identity theft violates his constitutional right to free speech because he was disseminating true information about Fisher as a public official. Fisher was the Jefferson County emergency services director, and Baron was an emergency medical technician.
Justice Annette Ziegler wrote that while Baron has a First Amendment right to defame a public official, it isn’t without boundaries.
“We are aware of no case that holds that one has a constitutional right to intentionally use another individual’s identity without consent in order to harm that individual’s reputation,” Ziegler wrote.
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