Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Court Says Spousal Privilege Does Not Apply To Couple In Civil Union

In Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Clary, (KY Cir. Ct., Sept. 23, 2013), a Kentucky trial court refused to apply the spousal privilege of Kentucky Rule of Evidence 504 to a couple who are parties to a Vermont civil union.  Under the rule, a spouse may refuse to testify, or prevent his or her spouse from testifying, about events occurring after the date of their marriage.  According to the Louisville Courier Journal, prosecutors trying Bobi Jo Clary for murder claim that her partner Geneva Case heard her admit to killing the victim, and saw Clary clean blood out of the victim's van and abandon it. The court explained that it need not decide whether the privilege must be applied to same-sex married couples since here the parties were only in a civil union.  Even though Vermont now recognizes same-sex marriage, the parties to a civil union in Vermont are required to take specified steps to convert the civil union to a marriage even for Vermont to recognize it. [Thanks to Thomas Rutledge for the lead.]