Childs might be able to argue an "employment defense" -- that he shouldn't be charged with a crime because he was simply doing his job. However, according to the judge, "the defendant has not yet established the employment defense to such an extent as to eliminate probable cause, and warrant dismissal of the charges."
It's a crime in California to cause the "denial of computer services" to an authorized user of a computer network.
But California's law was designed to prosecute people who break into computers, not those engaged in workplace disputes, said Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In Childs' case, his bosses asked him to hand over a password and he refused to do it, she said. "I don't think the California legislature contemplated that as a criminal action when they passed [the state's computer crime law]."
"This interpretation of the statute basically criminalizes certain types of commercial and employment disputes," she said.
Granick said that it "seems kind of wasteful" to incarcerate Childs for so long on the charges because he probably wouldn't be sentenced to 14 months if convicted.
Childs' trial is set to begin Oct. 9.