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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Is it Lawful for a Prosecutor to Use Your Spouse's Testimony Against You

    Can a prosecutor use the testimony of your spouse against you in court on a criminal charge?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Is it Lawful for a Prosecutor to Use Your Spouse's Testimony Against You

    Often, yes. There are two basic privileges that can exist between spouses:

    Testimonial privilege: In a criminal case, one spouse may choose not to testify against the other, defendant spouse. The spouse who is called as a witness may waive the privilege. States may also impose limits on the privilege, and it is typically unavailable in cases involving domestic violence or the abuse of children in the spouses' household.

    Communication privilege: Communications between spouses that are intended to be confidential may be subject to privilege, and it is the obligation of the party that seeks to admit the spouse's testimony to prove that the privilege is not applicable. This privilege may apply to both words and acts. This privilege exists in both civil and criminal cases. The privilege does not extend to statements or acts that occurred prior to the parties' marriage, and ends with their divorce. The privilege is inapplicable when spouses are suing each other, in criminal proceedings that one spouse has initiated against the other, or in mental competency proceedings pertaining to one of the spouses.

    The finer details of these privileges depends upon state law, and states may expand or constrict the privileges relative to the summaries provided above.

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