East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney white collar crime

White collar crime is a type of typically nonviolent financial crime that usually involves some sort of financial gain. White collar crimes are often perpetrated by offenders who have been entrusted with certain financial information, which is why the penalties for committing a white collar crime can be severe. Successfully prosecuting a white collar crime requires sufficient evidence, which can come from various people and places. However, when it comes to getting evidence from an individual’s spouse, there are certain protections that exist that protect couples from having to reveal communications made in private with one another.

What Is the Marital Communications Privilege?

In the 1850s, the marital communications privilege was created and originally existed in U.S. law as an attempt to preserve the sanctity of marital conversation, therefore encouraging free and open communication and strengthening the marital bond. Both spouses retain the marital communications privilege, meaning either spouse can invoke the privilege at any time, as long as the three required elements exist. If a spouse wishes to keep certain communications confidential, he or she must be able to prove that:

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federal, Hartford criminal defense attorneyThe law can be very complicated. For this reason, among others, the American legal system consists of several tiers, each designed to catch mistakes and prevent inconsistencies. Still, there is always the possibility that a court’s decision could have serious unintended consequences, as the scope of a such a decision is not always immediately evident. Such was the scenario with a ruling by a federal appeals court last month—a case in which the dissenting opinion expressed concern that millions of people may have just become “unwitting federal criminals.”

United States v. Nosal

The case in question involved a defendant who was charged with conspiracy, trade secret theft, and computer fraud against his former employer. The man, along with co-conspirators—accessed a database maintained by his former company using the login credentials of another person. As a result, the man was convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with the case when the defendant challenged the trial court’s decision.

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