If I am served a subpoena to testify against my husband in a domestic assault case, do I have to get on stand and say anything?

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If I am served a subpoena to testify against my husband in a domestic assault case, do I have to get on stand and say anything?

What are my options?

Asked on February 4, 2014 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

In the American system there is a fundamental right to be heard in due process of law. This is defined in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. A necessary requisite of due process of law is the opportunity to be heard, in a manner which is meaningful, in front of a forum which has an open mind, and is willing to listen to evidence. Adequate notice and an opportunity to confront adverse witnesses must be afforded.

As a general rule, independent of statutory considerations, the writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum under American law may be resorted to for the purpose of removing a person confined in a jail or prison to enable him to testify as a witness. The issuance of such a writ lies within the sound discretion of the court, or the judicial officer having the power to compel the attendance of witnesses. Relevance and materiality are of consideration in such matters. The constitutional right of an accused to compulsory process for obtaining witnesses does not necessarily extend to compelling the attendance of person in prison. This right is not violated by a statute which makes the right to the production of a witness confined in prison upon the discretion of the court.

Answer: If served with a trial subponea you have to appear in court and possibly give testimony. I suggest that you consult with a criminal defense attorney in your locality about whther the marital privilege precludes your testimony. One in your community can be found on attorneypages.com.


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