You Think Your Spouse Can Never Testify Against You

On Wednesday, July 6, 2011, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed a former karate instructor's conviction of risk of injury to a child. (The Hartford Courant, July 7, 2011).
The reason is that the prosecutor read an email on the accused computer's that was confiscated by the police. The email was intended for his lawyer which, of course, falls under the Privileged Communications Doctrine. The prosecutor stated that his reading it did not injure the defendant. You can say anything you want but it doesn't work that way.
The court wouldn't merely declare a mistrial as the next prosecutor would read the record about the email which would taint his case also.

Another area that cannot be brought up in court is Work Product. As a former Private Investigator working for attorneys I could not be subpoened to testify on the information I obtained.

Privileged Communications Doctrine:

Attorney - Client Client holds the privilege. Does not include future crimes, fraud or in some fiduciary situations.
Clergy - Penitent Penitent holds the privilege. Most states have a wide definition on who the Clergy is.
Husband - Wife Whomever has the information holds the privilege. There are some exceptions which has to do with extra marital activity. Does not pertain to couples living together. Does not pertain to parents and their children.
Psychiatrist - Patient Patient holds the privilege - even unto death. Unless the psychiatrist feels that the patient will or threatens psysical harm.
Medical Doctor - Patient Does not pertain to PhD's. Only MD's. Check your state laws on this one.

If another party is involved (can hear the conversation) then the privilege is lost unless he is a party to and signs a confidentially agreement. (See your lawyer for this one).


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