Is it really against the law to testify against your husband in the court of law?
The answer is NO. But, you can't be forced to testify against your spouse.
The general rule is "The spousal privilege, also known as the marital communication privilege or marital privilege, is a form of privileged communication protecting the contents of communications between husband and wife. When applied, a court may not force one spouse to testify against the other.
The privilege is usually restricted to communications made during marriage and does not include communications made after divorce. In addition, courts usually do not permit an adverse spouse to invoke the privilege during a trial initiated by the other spouse or in the case of domestic abuse. Finally, courts may require that the communication relate specifically to communications about the marriage.
Some courts distinguish between spousal privilege and marital communication. The distinction usually means that spousal privilege prevents one spouse from calling the other to testify to the detriment of the marital unit--this may occur in divorce proceedings or child custody disputes. Marital communication refers to the more general privilege.
Marital privilege is based on the policy of encouraging spousal harmony."
What isn't mentioned is that the spouse being asked to testify is the one that holds the privilege and the spouse being testified against can't stop the testimony by invoking the privilege.
I don't know. I don't think it is......
Um, no... it's against the law to lie under oath. If you are telling the truth, it doesn't matter.
i dont think so. i think theres a law that says if youre married you dont HAVE to testify. but im pretty sure you can if you want to
This differs from state to state. There is something called "spousal privilege" which means that a person cannot be forced to testify against their spouse. However, in most states if a person *chooses* to testify against their spouse it is allowed.
You can testify for him but not against. I don't know if it's the same all over.
it's not against the law. a spouse can't be forced to testify against their mate.peolple testify against spouses all the time. think about domestic abuse.
Spousal Privilege is not as clear as one might expect.
On August 27, in the case of Commonwealth v. Kirkner, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that in domestic violence trials, a judge must force a battered wife to testify against her husband.
The decision overruled an earlier holding that gave trial courts discretion, in such cases, to decide whether to compel reluctant victim-witnesses to testify.
The impulse behind a domestic violence exception to the spousal privilege - which generally prevents married people from testifying against each other - is laudable. However, the practical impact of the recent Pennsylvania decision will likely be to cause further, unnecessary harm to battered women.
Historical Reasons for the Spousal Testimonial Privilege
Originally, the spousal privilege reflected the view that a married woman was not an entirely separate person from her husband. In marriage, the man and the woman became "one," and that one was the man. As a result, married women could not own property or sign contracts and, significantly, could not ordinarily go to the authorities to complain of marital violence.
Marital rape, for example, was legally protected, and husbands were vested with the right to apply "moderate chastisement" and "salutary restraints" to discipline their wives. Along with legal disabilities specific to married women, a spousal privilege sealed the lips of both spouses in a criminal trial of either one of them.
Historically, a person could not be called to testify in his or her own case. Defining husband and wife as one person therefore meant that an individual could not be called to testify in a spouse's case either. An exception to the disqualification, however, evolved for cases involving serious harm committed by one spouse against the other.
Modern Reasons for a Spousal Testimonial Privilege
Over time, laws that treated women as the property of their husbands fell into disfavor, and state legislatures eliminated many of the status-based disabilities that married women had formerly endured. The spousal privilege survived, however, on the basis of a more modern rationale: the preservation of marital harmony. If one spouse were to testify against the other, this act of betrayal would doom any marriage.
Under the new rationale, however, an exception to the privilege continued to apply in cases of domestic violence.
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