Trammel v. United States

445 U.S. 40 (1980)


To get leniency, Mrs. Trammel, an unindicted co-conspirator, agreed to testify against her husband. Her husband, Trammel (D), was being tried for conspiracy to import and importing heroin. The district court ruled that she could testify to any act observed by her during the marriage. She could also testify as to any communication that was made in the presence of a third person. However, she was not allowed to testify to confidential communications between herself and her husband because these communications fell within the privilege attaching to confidential marital communications. Trammel (D) appealed, claiming that he could invoke this privilege against adverse spousal testimony and exclude his wife's voluntary testimony. The court of appeals rejected his argument, affirming the convictions.