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Former Intern with San Jose City Council Held for Hacking

A former intern with San Jose City Council, Eric Hernandez, 18, has been obliged to community service for 50 hours after admitting his offence of illegally hacking the city's e-mail system. The Judge of the Superior Court granted the defense's plea by reducing the felony charge to misdemeanor.

Jerome Nadler, the Superior Court Judge, explained the reasons for his grant to the youngster because of lack of any previous criminal record, and the circumstances under which the offense took place, as reported by MercuryNews on March 26, 2008.

Apart from the community service, the Judge ordered a year-long probation for Hernandez but this clause was later suspended, indicating that Hernandez will no longer be under supervision if he discharges the required community service. Additionally, he will have to pay a restitution of $100.

Hernandez had interned during 2007 summer for City Councilman Sam Liccardo and he admitted to the police earlier this year of having used a password to unlawfully ramble through e-mail accounts of the city. He used his personal computer at home to spread political dirt about his earlier boss's girlfriend.

Police reports claim that Hernandez hacked into the e-mail account of a City Council staff, Jessica Garcia-Kohl, over a 100 times. It was only after the Mayor's Chief of Staff's order that the intrusions could be discovered. He ordered the council members through an e-mail to restrict gathering in private beyond the council chambers. Later, a local political blog, sanjoserevealed.com, leaked it.

Hernandez initially faced a felony charge for making an unauthorized entry, copy and subsequent misuse of computer data. He faced a prison term of three years after his arrest and a day spent in jail. He was let out on bail in February 2008.

However, Steve Manchester, the Defense Attorney, rescued Hernandez by arguing that his deed was barely a criminal incident because the leaked e-mail was after all a public document, which the Public Records Act warrants disclosure.

While authorities considered it a grave crime, the Prosecutor showed no opposition to the plea motion for reducing the felony charge to misdemeanor.

Related article: Former Council Intern Charged with Intruding City E-mail

ยป SPAMfighter News - 01-04-2008

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