RB Ray Rice Marries Fiance/Victim of His Alleged Aggravated Assault – Would Ohio Law Bar his Now-Wife from Testifying?

Would this work in Ohio?  The answer is simple:  NO.

According to Ohio Rule of Evidence 601,

Every person is competent to be a witness except:

(A)  Those of unsound mind, and children under ten years of age, who appear incapable of receiving just impressions of the facts and transactions respecting which they are examined, or of relating them truly.

(B)  A spouse testifying against the other spouse charged with a crime except when either of the following applies:

(1)  a crime against the testifying spouse or a child of either spouse is charged;

(2)  the testifying spouse elects to testify.

Evidence Rule 601(B) represents Ohio’s marital privilege.  Therefore, as a general rule, a spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other spouse in a criminal matter.  However, there are two exceptions to the rule.  If the spouse facing the criminal charge is being charged with committing a crime against the other spouse or a child of either spouse, then the spouse can be forced to testify and cannot claim privilege.  The second exception is when the testifying spouse agrees to testify, which does not appear to be applicable with regards to Mr. Rice.  If New Jersey’s laws regarding marital privilege are similar to that of Ohio, Mr. Rice’s sudden decision to marry the alleged crime victim could have minimal impact on the prosecution’s decision to move forward.

If you or a loved one find yourself in a similar predicament, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal law attorney as soon as possible.