Legal Question in Criminal Law in Wisconsin

Even though a wife cannot be compeled to testify against her husband, can she be forced to release evidence of his guilt? Such as letters written to her by her husband admitting to his crime.


Asked on 1/08/10, 12:05 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jeffrey Murrell Law Office of Jeffrey L. Murrell

Wis. Stat. §905.05 outlines the scope of the husband-wife privilege in Wisconsin. It only protects “communication” between spouses (i.e., what is said or told to one spouse by another – not what one spouse has seen or heard otherwise), unless the accused spouse is charged with a crime against the person of the other spouse (i.e., his or her body), or the property or children of the other spouse. It also does not apply when charges of prostitution or pandering is charged against one spouse. Also, it does not apply if the spouse you want to keep from testifying has acted as the accused spouse’s official “agent” of communication and the communication relates to matters that have to do with the scope of the agency. Clear enough? You just have to love how complicated they make all this!

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Answered on 1/18/10, 6:55 pm


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