Sexual Activity as a Confidential Marital Communication

Is having sex with your spouse “communication”? The court of appeals addressed this issue in State v. Godbey, a child sexual abuse case. The victim alleged that the defendant engaged in specific, unusual sexual acts with her. The court considered whether the defendant’s wife could be compelled to testify that the defendant engaged in similar acts with her, or whether those acts were covered by the confidential marital communication privilege.

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Asserting the Fifth Amendment in Court and the Granting of Immunity to a Witness

The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are commonly known as the Bill of Rights and were ratified on December 15, 1791. It is remarkable how many of these amendments are still resilient today throughout the United States. Their individual freedoms against government interference include: the freedom of speech and religion and the right … Read more

The Confidential Spousal Communication Privilege

It is hornbook law that “[a] confidential communication between husband and wife is privileged and neither spouse may be compelled to disclose it when testifying as a witness.” 1 Kenneth S. Broun, Brandis & Broun on North Carolina Evidence 419 (6th ed. 2004). See also G.S. 8-57(c). Just today, the court of  appeals decided a case … Read more

Obtaining Medical Records under G.S. 8-53

I’ve received questions from both prosecutors and defense lawyers about whether and how the state can obtain a suspect’s — or a defendant’s — medical records when those records may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation. The most frequently-asked questions are addressed in the scenario below. Take a look, and post a comment if … Read more