Can you assert marital privilege in a federal grand jury?

Asked over 1 year ago - Utica, MI

I understand that it varies by state, but this is a federal case. Also, we were living together but not married before I was subpoenaed. We plan to get married in a few weeks.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. John F. Brennan

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . The marital privilege does indeed exist in Michigan but, like all privileges, is despised by the prosecutors. A marriage immediately before you are to testify will be a red flag and possibly challenged. You make also be converted to a person of interest and co-defendant.
    You need your own counsel. My firm has vast criminal defense experience, including grand jury. Call use or another highly rated firm.

    To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an... more
  2. Joshua Sachs

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My recollection is that a witness can assert a marital privilege before a federal grand jury, but that the availability and scope of the privilege depend upon state law. If the law in your state is, for example, that no witness can be required to disclose a communication between spouses made during the course of a marriage, then it won't do you any good, will it? If you are under federal grand jury subpoena you ought to have an attorney familiar with the federal system. There could be more to this than a subpoeana.

  3. Joshua Sabert Lowther

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You cannot successfully assert the marital privilege unless you are married to the target of the investigation at the time of your testimony, or you were married to him or her at some point in the past and certain circumstances existed surrounding the communications between you (such as during a "reconciliation" period). Whether a state recognized you as married under common law may also affect your assertion of the privilege. I recommend that you retain an attorney who is experienced in defending federal criminal cases to discuss the matter; the marital privilege is much more complex that it appears from a cursory reading of the rule of evidence.

    Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.
    NATIONAL FEDERAL DEFENSE GROUP
    jlowther@nationalfederaldefense.com
    http://www.NationalFederalDefense.com
    866.380.1782

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

28,628 answers this week

3,079 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

28,628 answers this week

3,079 attorneys answering