You should consult with a criminal defense attorney, since there may be immunity here, which would prevent you from testifying against him.
The spousal privilege law in Massachusetts states that a spouse can not be forced by the prosecution to give testimony in a trial or other criminal hearing brought against the other spouse. The privilege is set forth in G. L. c. 233, § 20. The spousal privilege may only be claimed by the witness spouse and it does not apply to civil proceedings or in any prosecution for non-payment of support, child incest, child abuse or neglect of parental responsibilities.
In order to use the privilege you must be married to the other party that is subject to a criminal prosecution. The privilege is valid even though the spouse was not married at the time of the incident that was the reason for a criminal prosecution or trial. (See Commonwealth v. DiPietro, 373 Mass. 369, 382, 367 N.E.2d 811, 819 (1977)). However, there is no common-law privilege, like the spousal privilege, applicable to unmarried individuals living together. (See Commonwealth v. Diaz, 422 Mass. 269, 274, 661 N.E.2d 1326, 1329 (1996)).
The privilege not to give testify against your husband or wife applies despite the fact that the proposed testimony might be favorable or unfavorable to the other spouse. Commonwealth v. Maillet, 400 Mass. 572, 578, 511 N.E.2d 529, 533 (1987). Conversely, a spouse may give testimony against the other spouse if he or she is willing to do so. A defendant spouse under the circumstance has no right to prevent his or her spouse’s testimony. However, when a spouse decides to waive the privilege and testify against his or her spouse in a criminal proceeding, the judge should be satisfied, outside the presence of the jury, that the waiver of the spousal privilege is a voluntary.
In Massachusetts, the spousal disqualification, unlike the spousal privilege, bars either spouse from testifying to private conversations with the other even though both spouses wish the communication to be revealed. See Gallagher v. Goldstein, 402 Mass. 457, 459, 524 N.E.2d 53, 54 (1988). The court noted that while the contents of private oral conversations are absolutely excluded, the statute does not preclude evidence that a conversation took place. Finally, words constituting or accompanying abuse, threats, or assaults where the other spouse is the alleged victim are not regarded as private conversation for the purpose of the disqualification.
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