A New Jersey teacher in his school's computer lab accidentally knocked the mouse of the vacant computer next to him, and an email thread labelled "Wayne Update" appeared on the screen. He opened the email, and printed out two emails about him by a fellow teacher, including this:
I guess he chooses not to listen. I will not respond to him. He is sooooo fake. And sooooo with the Dark Side. I will never tell him "The Truth", not because he can't handle it but because he's too dumb to understand it. See you later.
Turns out, Rogers was the head of the local teacher's union and he publicly confronted the author of the message at a subsequent union meeting. She and other participants in the email thread sued him. A key issue in the case was whether Rogers act ran afoul of a state statute that prohibits "knowingly accessing without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided or exceeds an authorization to access that facility." A jury acquitted Rogers, and an appellate court has affirmed:
The judge in this case submitted questions to the jurors that were carefully crafted to ascertain whether Wayne knew he lacked authorization or knew he exceeded his authorization. Their answers demonstrate that they found he did not know. All seven of the deliberating jurors found that he "knowingly accessed" the facility providing the service and that he obtained an electronic communication in electronic storage, but six of the seven found that he had not "exceeded an authorization to access that facility," and seven found that Wayne had "tacit authorization" to do so.
Ars Technica says the moral of the story is -- log off.