…depending on from where and how you communicate:
Communications between spouses are typically accorded a “marital communications privilege” because they are “regarded as so essential to the preservation of the marriage relationship as to outweigh the disadvantages to the administration of justice which the privilege entails.” But marital communications to or from a workplace computer just became less privileged – at least in the Fourth Circuit.
In United States v. Hamilton, the Fourth Circuit considered Phillip Hamilton’s challenge to his conviction for bribery and extortion under color of official right. A jury concluded that, “while a state legislator, Hamilton secured state funding for a public university in exchange for employment by the university.”
Email that Hamilton sent to his wife from his part-time consulting job at the Newport News public school system was key evidence in his conviction. On appeal, Hamiltonargued that his email exchanges with his wife were subject to the marital communication privilege and were improperly admitted into evidence. Why did a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit disagree?
The Fourth Circuit concluded…[cont]