The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that while a convenience store clerk was guilty of stealing lottery tickets through the store’s computer system, she did not violate the state’s anti-hacking law while doing so.
In the case, known as State v. Nascimento, Oregon’s highest court ruled late last month that a hacking conviction against the defendant should be overturned, and the court sent the case back down to the lower court for reconsideration. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which appeared on Caryn Nascimento’s behalf during the case as an amicus curae (friend of the court), announced the narrow victory on Tuesday.
According to the Supreme Court’s decision, the case dates back to 2007, when Nascimento began working at Tiger Mart, a small convenience store in Madras, Oregon, about 120 miles southeast of Portland. In late 2008 and early 2009, a company vice president began investigating what appeared to be cash shortages at that store, sometimes about $1,000 per day. After reviewing video recordings that correlated with Nascimento’s work schedule, this executive began to suspect that she was buying lottery tickets but not paying for them.
Eventually, Nascimento was charged not only with aggravated first-degree theft but also of violating the state’s computer crime law, which includes language that “any person who knowingly and without authorization uses, accesses or attempts to access any computer, computer system, computer network, or any computer software, program, documentation or data contained in such computer, computer system or computer network, commits computer crime.”
She was convicted on both charges at trial. On appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court, Nascimento’s lawyers argued that while their client may have violated a company policy …