New York man could be forced to testify against his partner

Ashley's picture
Submitted by Ashley on Thu, 2005-12-08 00:14

"Prosecutors are opposing efforts to apply New York's marital privilege law to same-sex partners, arguing that a man charged in a school embezzlement scandal can testify against his companion. Stephen Signorelli, charged in the theft of $11.2 million from the wealthy Roslyn school district on Long Island, has asked a judge to prevent Frank Tassone, his longtime companion and the district's former superintendent, from testifying against him. Signorelli is among a half-dozen people accused of participating in the theft over several years."

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In the past when "gay marriage" threads have popped up, there are always those who hold that marriage is unecessary because all the rights of marriage can be drawn up in a simple contract - no government interference needed. I will admit that this problem has occurred to me before. This is not exclusive to married couples, right? Aren't some professionals (doctors, lawyers) allowed to keep communications with someone accused of a crime confidential?

What if your partner was charged with a crime that you had knowledge of, but possibly didn't disapprove of? Or that you believed they were innocent but knew of facts that could "look bad" in court. What would you do if you were compelled to testify?

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I said "frightening" not

Ross Elliot's picture

I said "frightening" not "tightening" the ladies Smiling

LOL - ye mean this 60 year

Robert Malcom's picture

LOL - ye mean this 60 year old still in shape...?

Self ownership

Mike Erickson's picture


I believe that under the principle of self ownership that no one should be "forced" to testify about anything under any circumstances. A "marriage" right is not a fundamental right. Here's how it works: Take away a fundamental right, then dole it back as "special cases" until enough people stop screaming. Use this to accomplish social engineering of whatever flavor you like.

Well, it *was* a question,

Ross Elliot's picture

Well, it *was* a question, Robert. But if I had to define extreme in this context I might say that anything short of murder *isn't*. But, I'd really like to know: is the practise of professional confidentiality grounded in constitutional interpretation or merely in social convention?

And, Robert, for chrissakes, get your shirt on--you're frightening the ladies...

And who defines 'extreme'

Robert Malcom's picture

And who defines 'extreme' cases?

I assume the right of

Ross Elliot's picture

I assume the right of confidentiality WRT spouses & professionals is founded in the Fifth Amendment or an extension thereof? Otherwise, how did it evolve?

Perhaps a more interesting question is: if you aren't compelled to testify against your spouse but are aware that they have broken the law, are you ethically obligated to volunteer that information? At which point does your right to silence (as a spouse) make you an *accessory* to the crime?

Besides, aren't professionals required to testify in *extreme* cases?

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