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Sat Aug 31, 2019, 07:25 PM

New Mexico ruling abolishes privilege on spousal testimony

Source: Associated Press


PAUL DAVENPORT ASSOCIATED PRESS
AUGUST 31, 2019 04:07 PM, UPDATED 15 MINUTES AGO

The New Mexico Supreme Court is abolishing a legal privilege that bars use of testimony by a defendant's spouse.

The Santa Fe-based court's ruling says the spousal communication privilege "has outlived its useful life" and is based in misogyny.

The ruling Friday bars future use of the privilege in the state court system.

The court took the action in a ruling that upholds David Gutierrez's murder conviction in a 2002 killing in Clovis. He had made incriminating statements to both a wife he later divorced and to his second wife.

The court took the action in a ruling that upholds David Gutierrez's murder conviction in a 2002 killing in Clovis. He had made incriminating statements to both a wife he later divorced and to his second wife.

Read more: https://www.fresnobee.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article234603037.html

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply New Mexico ruling abolishes privilege on spousal testimony (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 OP
bucolic_frolic Aug 2019 #1
Igel Sep 2019 #9
Karadeniz Aug 2019 #2
alittlelark Aug 2019 #3
littlemissmartypants Aug 2019 #4
B Stieg Aug 2019 #5
LiberalFighter Sep 2019 #6
Hugin Sep 2019 #8
oldsoftie Sep 2019 #7

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2019, 07:40 PM

1. That should open some inter-spousal conflict

but transparency is a good thing. It was a virtual gag order.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 12:38 PM

9. No, it wasn't.

The privilege is usually--I don't know about New Mexico--held by the witness.

The wife, for example, couldn't bar the husband from testifying against her. But the state couldn't force the husband to testify against his wofe. It was a privilege that let the spouse say, "No, I won't testify against my partner." That might be because of economic interests, the interest in having two parents for the kids, out of affection, or simply because once on the stand all kinds of private things might be revealed that the partner doesn't want to have revealed. In other words, not so much self-incrimination as self-humiliation and airing one's dirty laundry in public.

That allowed for testimony. It didn't compel testimony.

Notice that my example must be somehow misogynistic in ways I don't see. The right was symmetrical, and neither spouse could be compelled to testify against the other. Even as many say, "We must stop compulsion," what I really see them saying is, "We must not compel things I like and approve of, but we must compel others to do things they might not want to do." We're all still petty authoritarians, but more principled in our self-interest. And more easily manipulated, too, I think. If the word "misogyny" wasn't in there, I think many would and move on.

What the right did do, sadly, was allow one partner to threaten the other to compel exercise of the privilege. In that I could see the exercise of misogyny, even if spousal abuse goes both ways. But that makes something that's corollary merely corollary.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2019, 07:56 PM

2. Good riddance!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2019, 09:14 PM

3. A very positive ruling !!

Needs to happen out here.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2019, 09:31 PM

4. Excellent news! Thanks, JL. ❤ nt

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2019, 10:41 PM

5. Wow. I thought this had already happened...

with the changes in spousal rape laws.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 12:58 AM

6. I had to give it some thought and realized I believe that

that privilege was really intended for the husband. And wrongly so.

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 10:51 AM

8. Yeah, and I'm guessing there could be problems in spousal abuse cases, too.

Sounds like a fair change.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 10:49 AM

7. I thought you lost spousal privilege after a divorce anyway?

But i also thought that spousal privilege was a Constitutional thing.

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