CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After he was sentenced Thursday to federal probation for hacking her computer, the former Clay County sheriff and his ex-wife shared a long embrace.
About 20 of Miles Slack's family members and friends let out sighs of relief when a judge announced Slack's sentence of up to two years probation and a $1,000 fine.
"You have lost your position as sheriff, lost your career in law enforcement . . . . That alone is enough," U.S. District Court Judge John Copenhaver told Slack.
The charge to which Slack pleaded guilty -- one count of interception and disclosure of wire or oral communications -- carries a maximum of five years in prison. However, federal sentencing guidelines recommend zero to six months of prison time.
Slack resigned as sheriff before pleading guilty in September to hacking into his wife's work computer in order to obtain email passwords and chat room conversations.
His wife at the time, Lisa Slack, worked in the Clay County Magistrate Court office. The two have since divorced.
Computers in the offices of circuit judges and magistrates in West Virginia are owned and maintained by the West Virginia Supreme Court and are connected to a central Supreme Court computer network.
On Thursday, Lisa Slack made an emotional plea on behalf of her ex-husband in the courtroom, saying their 16-year marriage had been marred by jealousy. She, along with officials from the Supreme Court, had been invited to speak as victims.
"During the last couple of years, the jealousy grew," Lisa Slack said through tears.
When Miles Slack announced last year that he would run for sheriff, then-Sheriff Randy Holcomb demoted Slack from chief deputy. West Virginia civil service laws don't permit any deputies except chief deputies to run for sheriff, so Slack resigned from the sheriff's department.
His resignation caused financial problems -- and also, Lisa Slack said, her husband then had "more time on his hands.
"I think the jealousy became a little more of an issue. I, too, I wasn't completely innocent. I've done things in our marriage I shouldn't have, as well," she said.
"He's a really good man; he made a mistake. Nothing he did was meant for the Supreme Court . . . . He was totally after me."