By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
In Texas the prosecution can and will force one spouse to testify against another — often against their will. I am often asked in disbelief in assault cases “can they really do this?” Unfortunately the answer is, “yes.”
Texas Rule of Evidence 504 governs the husband-wife privilege. Generally speaking, any communication made to one’s spouse is privileged under that rule during and even after the marriage. Either spouse may assert the privilege whether they are a party to a case or not. Unfortunately, the husband-wife privilege is riddled with far more exceptions than other privileges (such as the attorney-client privilege).
Tex.R.Evid. 504(a)(4)(D) is just one of the specific exceptions to this rule of privilege. That rule states a spouse can be compelled to testify against their other spouse if that spouse is considered the victim of the crime…
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