Student who hacked Sarah Palin's e-mail now plans to be an attor - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Student who hacked Sarah Palin's e-mail now plans to be an attorney

(WMC-TV) - Two years ago, a Memphis-born college student was convicted of hacking the Yahoo! e-mail account of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

That incident changed his life forever.

State Representative Mike Kernell said the trajectory of his son's life took a different turn after his four-year dance with the justice system.

"He's doing very well in school and he's grown up a lot," said Rep. Mike Kernell.

David Kernell was a 20-year-old UT Knoxville student in 2008 when the FBI charged him with hacking the personal Yahoo! e-mail account of Sarah Palin.

Four years later, David Kernell is completing his undergrad degree at UT. He even switched his major from science to business and he wants to be an attorney.

"He just recently took the Law Schools Admissions Test. He's interested in possibly becoming a criminal defense attorney," said Rep. Kernell.

The 24-year-old has about two and half years left of supervised probation. Kernell said the incident changed his son's perspective on life.

"He grew a lot. He went from a college student that was playing games to maybe someday becoming a defense attorney," he said.

Kernell was convicted of unauthorized access to a computer for accessing the e-mail account, and felony anticipatory obstruction of justice for erasing his computer.

In January, a federal appeals court panel upheld the conviction and sentence, but Kernell says the case is not over.

"He's learned a lot about the Constitution and a lot about the law. We fully expect that his case will be appealed to the Supreme Court," said Rep. Kernell.

According to Kernell, the appeal would be against the felony only.

The Kernells contend the anticipatory obstruction of justice law was established for financial institutions, not individual people.

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