Private Communications


Charge: murder of V, D's father-in-law, on June 1. M.O.: bludgeoning with a blunt instrument, dismemberment with a sharp one, and burial in the backyard of her home. The jurisdiction's spousal privilege states that "in every case, the husband or wife of either party shall be deemed a competent witness, provided that neither shall be permitted to disclose any private communication made to him or her by the other during their marriage, except on trials of petitions for divorce between them or trials between them involving their respective property rights."

(1) At trial, the district attorney proposes that D's husband, H, testify for the prosecution, over D's objection, that he asked D on June 2 where his father was and D said, "I killed him and chopped him up into a hundred pieces." Admissible?

(2) H testifies that D, in response to his question, "Where is Poppa?," showed H the 100 pieces of his father that D had hidden in a trunk. Admissible?

(3) H testifies that on June 1 he was reading in the living room. D carried a trunk up from the basement, said "Hi, dear," proceeded to drag the trunk through the living room and out to the backyard, and buried it. Admissible?

(4) H testifies that he was asleep in bed the night of June 1. He woke up and noticed that D was not beside him. He got out of bed and as he passed the bedroom window saw D in the moonlight furtively digging in the backyard. H got back into bed and pretended he was asleep. About a half-hour later, D crept back to bed. D never mentioned the matter to H, and H never raised it with D. Admissible?

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