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May 5, 2006
Case Law Development: Marital Communications Privilege and Spousal Testimonial Privilege in Marriage Fraud Cases
Here's a good example for your students of the joint crime exception to the marital communications privilege and the spousal testimonial privilege. This case was a prosecution for marriage fraud involving a Moroccan man who paid $3000 to an American citizen to marry him for immigration purposes. Husband argued that wife's testimony against him and letters he had written here were improperly admitted because they were privileged. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court's denial of motions in limine because husband and wife were joint participants in the underlying marriage fraud. Likewise, as to wife's testimony against husband. Because the testimonial privilege is personal to the testifying spouse and because wife did not assert the privilege, husband had no right to assert the privilege on her behalf.
United States v. Darif, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 10946 (May 3, 2006)
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