State v. Serrano
Oregon Supreme Court
210 P.3d 892 (2009)
The state (plaintiff) charged Serrano (defendant) with the aggravated murder of Melody Dang and her sons. Serrano’s wife had an affair with Dang’s long-time boyfriend Nguyen and informed Serrano of the affair. Serrano’s wife agreed to testify for the state regarding communications between herself and Serrano. The state sought to show that Serrano had told his wife that he had motive to commit the murder and subsequently attempted to conceal his involvement. Before the trial, Serrano filed a motion in limine, seeking to exclude these communications under the marital-communications privilege. The state asserted that the communications in question were not intended to be confidential. The state further asserted that even if Serrano and his wife intended the communications to be confidential, the purpose of the privilege, namely marital harmony, was no longer achieved. The trial court granted Serrano’s motion and excluded the communications. The state appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (De Muniz, C.J.)
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