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Tag Archives: Criminal

Can Your Spouse Keep A Secret?

Can Your Spouse Keep A Secret? Spousal Privilege!

The State of Washington’s Spousal Privilege is found in RCWA 5.60.060(1). How long will the privilege last?

The Washington provision states, with some exceptions, that a spouse shall not  testify against the other spouse without the consent of the spouse. This long-standing rule protects the confidential communications within a marriage and from one spouse receiving information and later sharing a private disclosure to the public in court.

A spouse or domestic partner shall not be examined for or against his or her spouse or domestic partner, without the consent of the spouse or domestic partner; nor can either during marriage or during the domestic partnership or afterward, be without the consent of the other, examined as to any communication made by one to the other during the marriage or the domestic partnership.

However, the New Mexico Supreme Court recently  abolished the spousal communication privilege in a murder case based on testimony by the defendant’s ex-wife and estranged current spouse.

The court said the privilege “has outlived its useful life,” reported by the Legal Profession Blog and the Associated Press. Justifications that have been cited for the privilege “seem little more than soaring rhetoric and legally irrelevant sentimentality,” the court said in its Aug. 30 opinion.

How long with the Spousal Privilege last in Washington and other states? Only more cases examining the privilege will tell, but it is likely receive more scrutiny.

Contact Althauser Rayan Abbarno in Olympia and Centralia!

Althauser Rayan Abbarno attorneys have been representing individuals and businesses in Washington since 1946. For a Consultation in Olympia or Centralia call (360) 736-1301 or visit www.CentraliaLaw.com