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Marital Privilege

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bride and groom
feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - What is the marital privilege? Probably not what you think.

After former New England Patriot, current penitentiary inmate Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder, the police had some questions for Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’ fiancée and baby mama (apparently not including what we all want to know: what is your criteria for deciding who makes a good boyfriend?).

Originally said to be cooperative with investigators, Jenkins stopped talking when Hernandez let it be known that her silence would be appreciated. Can she be forced to testify against her fiancé? The answer is yes.

There’s a legal doctrine called the marital privilege – and it has nothing to do with his privilege to sit on the couch all Sunday watching tv or her privilege to gain 10 pounds and stop letting him out for boys night out. Instead, it is a legal privilege that says that legally married spouses cannot be forced to testify against one another. But that privilege to tell the police you won’t give up the goods on your beloved only covers those who are actually married – and Aaron Hernandez and Shayanna Jenkins never made it down the aisle so whatever he said to her is not privileged.

So the next time he gets cold feet about putting that ring on your finger, remind him what a privilege it will be for him to be your actual spouse.

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