federal, Hartford criminal defense attorneyThe law can be very complicated. For this reason, among others, the American legal system consists of several tiers, each designed to catch mistakes and prevent inconsistencies. Still, there is always the possibility that a court’s decision could have serious unintended consequences, as the scope of a such a decision is not always immediately evident. Such was the scenario with a ruling by a federal appeals court last month—a case in which the dissenting opinion expressed concern that millions of people may have just become “unwitting federal criminals.”

United States v. Nosal

The case in question involved a defendant who was charged with conspiracy, trade secret theft, and computer fraud against his former employer. The man, along with co-conspirators—accessed a database maintained by his former company using the login credentials of another person. As a result, the man was convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with the case when the defendant challenged the trial court’s decision.

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