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Kentucky

Lesbian may be forced to testify against spouse in Ky. murder case

Monday, June 17, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky judge is weighing whether a same-sex couple qualifies for the privilege of not testifying against a spouse in a slaying case in Louisville.

Bobbie Joe Clary

The question arose in the case of Bobbie Joe Clary. Clary is charged in the Oct. 29, 2011, murder and robbery of George Murphy, accused of fatally wounding Murphy with a blunt object in his Portland home.

Clary is claiming self-defense, saying that Murphy was raping her and she fought back by hitting him in the head with a hammer.

Prosecutors say that Clary’s spouse, Geneva Case, heard Clary admit to killing Murphy and saw her clean blood out of his van and abandon it in Southern Indiana.

They argue Case must testify about those facts, even though Kentucky law exempts spouses from being compelled to testify against each other.

Prosecutors claim that, although Clary and Case entered into a same-sex civil union in Vermont in 2004, Case is not exempt from testifying because Kentucky doesn’t recognize same-sex civil unions or marriages.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Susan Schultz Gibson set a July 30 hearing date over whether Case qualifies for the right not to testify against Clary.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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79 more reader comments:

  1. Oh, fucking hell.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:23am
  2. This is why DOMA needs to be shot down!

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:25am
  3. they certainly do qualify

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:26am
  4. This is bullshit.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:28am
  5. Why does this label her “lesbian” Why not just her name. What does her sexual orientation have to do with anything? Murder is murder, when will people stop using labels!!! Hate labels!

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:30am
  6. They DO NOT QUALIFY in Kentucky because Kentucky does not recognize out of state same sex unions or marriage.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:31am
  7. Umm, Diane? Because the different status of her same-sex marriage IS the story. You might try reading the article before spouting off.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:33am
  8. well there you have it

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:34am
  9. What’s to fucking “weigh”?!! They’re spouses. End of story. Bigots.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:35am
  10. The prosecution’s argument is that it’s a civil union, not a marriage. This is exactly why we demand full marriage. Anything else is easily dismissed as “marriage light,” as Ruth Bader Ginsberg called it, whenever the government wants to get around it.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:36am
  11. Sorry, in the U.S., you and your marriage are substandard and you’re not “entitled” to the same protections as those who procreate. Fucked up? VERY.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:36am
  12. This is important to follow for the outcome.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:39am
  13. I can’t even believe this is an issue. Who cares if she is a “lesbian”. And if we are all “EQUAL”, why do they refer to her as a “lesbian”? If there has to be a testimony in a murder case, it does not matter if you are gay, straight, bi, or dead!

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:40am
  14. Yeah, lesbians and gays must testify against their spouses because the state does not recognize them as anything more than two strangers off the streets.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:42am
  15. yet another reason that marriage equality must become the law of the land.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:44am
  16. They are legally no more spouses than two neighbors or even strangers off the street in Kentucky.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:46am
  17. HAVE

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:47am
  18. Sadly, they are not seen as married in Kentucky. So, the partner will have to testify. Too bad the judge can’t wait until the supreme court rules next week.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:47am
  19. ‘lesbian’ might be the key to whether or not the KY court (which does not have marriage equality), will enforce the legal concept of ‘spousal privilege’.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:47am
  20. Because Kentucky doesn’t recognize their civil union as a union? This is a time for the judge to create precedent.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:48am
  21. See, THIS is one of the many reasons it’s so important that all marriages are equal…

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:50am
  22. Her “orientation” has everything to do with this case. Please inform yourself of spousal privilege laws in the great state of Kentucky. Gay and Lesbian couples do not qualify and must testify against each other.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:58am
  23. Yet another case of discrimination. I’m not for covering up any evidence in a crime, but a crime is being committed against this couple by not accepting their relationship.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:58am
  24. The judge can not create such a “precedent”.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:00am
  25. That just sounds odd to me, but thank you for the information. :)

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:01am
  26. I didn’t spout off, Thanks to another member she enlighten me on what I misunderstood. Thanks for your rudeness, much appreciated.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:01am
  27. I think the whole spousal privilege concept is bs anyway. I think the pressing issue is the actual murder and what the spouse may or may not know. If they are deemed married by law, she will NOT be able to testify but what if she knows the truth? I think this particular law has its faults.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:03am
  28. No need to be cunty Diane.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:08am
  29. Society is not as advanced as you would clearly like Robert.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:09am
  30. It’s got nothing to do with being advanced. Caroline=Fail

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:26am
  31. Interesting how they view this but if the two were involved in a battery against the other, it would be labeled “domestic battery” because they live together “as if a family”!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:38am
  32. Actually, IF she was in a heterosexual marriage, she would NOT have to testify. That is why it IS an issue that she’s a lesbian, because her relationship puts her into a situation of legal inequality.

    Normally, I’m not a fan of calling out labels to promote a story, but this is the story. IF she was married to a man, as a Straight woman would be, she would not have to testify against him. One of the many many rights not afforded same-sex couples under DOMA.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:40am
  33. Absolutely fascinating. If she is forced to testify when a heterosexual spouse would not, and that evidence is ultimately used to convict, then her partner will lose the case because of her lgbt status. This is not a commentary on her guilt or innocence. She may well be guilty, but her sexual orientation should not be the deciding factor in whether evidence is admitted. This is glaring inequality in the legal system.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:42am
  34. Specifically, that it’s a civil union performed in another state, and they don’t recognize civil unions in their own state. Yet another reason why civil unions are not adequate as a substitution for marriage.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:42am
  35. oh. wow. i feel like an idiot. You mean to say if my wife commits murder, I can not testify against her? F that shit.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:42am
  36. No need to throw out gendered insults, Caroline.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:43am
  37. Unless Vermont had legalized marriage then KY has to accept it…

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:49am
  38. The 5th will protect all…gay straight bi and all else

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:53am
  39. But wait a minute!! I was told by a conservative that civil unions are “the exact same thing” as marriage by a conservative recently!!

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:58am
  40. Well considering that if they were MARRIED under the state’s laws, it would be Unconstitutional for the state to force her to testify against her spouse, it’s kind of important….

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:59am
  41. Okay, here’s the deal Robert… I am a married man. I’m married to a woman. Under the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution I CANNOT be forced to testify against myself. Under several Supreme Court rulings, I ALSO cannot be forced to testify against my wife.

    This woman, however, is not married according to the state she lives in. She would no doubt be married to the woman she considers her spouse were it allowed under that state’s laws. As such, she wouldn’t be forced to testify WERE THEY MARRIED. But since they CANNOT GET married in their state, she’s going to be forced to testify against her spouse.

    So the article mentions it as a way to point out the idiocy of our laws.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:02am
  42. Robert, if your wife commits murder you can CHOOSE to testify against her, but you cannot be FORCED to testify against her.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:03am
  43. Ah. Totally understood now. Yes, that is BS.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:04am
  44. Spousal privilege says NOTHING about not being allowed to testify against your spouse. For example, if my wife were to, in cold blood, murder someone, I would testify against her.

    On the other hand, if she were doing so in self defense, I would NOT testify against her.

    Spousal privilege simply says that you cannot be FORCED to testify against your spouse if you choose not to.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:05am
  45. Not true. The 5th protects you from being forced to testify against yourself and your legal spouse. It says nothing about the person whom you’ve civil unioned… Thus the reason why we need marriage equality!

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:06am
  46. Not true. The DOMA allows states to ignore gay marriages from other states…

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:06am
  47. Great big grrrr. This is why we need the same laws about marriage state to state. What is the likelihood that anyone would consider forcing a marriage partner to testify against their spouse if this was a heterosexual couple who’d gotten married in a different state?

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:28am
  48. I think that’s an outdated law anyway you SHOULD testify against anyone who would murder another human being. the scope should be limited to financial matters

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 12:16pm
  49. They are trying to FORCE her to testify. I think she should have the right NOT to testify. She is her spouse whether Kentucky recognizes it or not.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 1:21pm
  50. Ricky Schroder

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 1:49pm
  51. they dont recognize the marriage so why the problem, to me it would be a pretty open and shut decision. And I agree with Diane why do we always have to use labels?

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 1:55pm
  52. well you know what they say – the gay community is NOT a club. LMAO

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:36pm
  53. frankly I thought the picture was a man. LMAO – then I read the post – roflmao – it’s too much – sorry – the amount of lethal bullshit on this thread is hilarious

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:37pm
  54. No need to get your panties in a twist Leigh-Anne.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:39pm
  55. (lets keep this going and see where this goes, this is hilarious)

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:40pm
  56. Read the damned article. Jesus.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:40pm
  57. Edwin Aquino= Fail. Is that all you got moron?

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:41pm
  58. she should be..these sound like a cople of grifters

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:53pm
  59. If a husband or wife in a heterosexual marriage, someone more likely in the world to know what their partner is doing than any other witness, can be absolved of the responsibility of testifying… then their purpose for having this spouse testify against her partner isn’t one of justice at all, but punishment for violating social norms.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:53pm
  60. Of course they should not be required.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:55pm
  61. Unless she’s actually being charged with a crime, there’s no more reason to drag her on the witness stand than there is to drag any other spouse on the witness stand. Protip: Spouses in heterosexual marriages cannot be compelled to testify against their partners. Just one more benefit to marriage being denied to same-sex couples.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 9:58pm
  62. no one can actually be forced to testify anything. Simply tell the jury you are repeating what the prosecutionwants or plea the 5th to everything.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:00pm
  63. Fine, put her on the stand. Just say, “I can’t recall.”

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:04pm
  64. “she” Guevara!

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:06pm
  65. and people keep insisting that civil unions are the same as marriage. Just another example of how it’s not.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:10pm
  66. less we forget these are possible murderers

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:10pm
  67. The fifth amendment protects someone from being forced to testify against oneself, not another person.

    She can not plead the fifth, she must swear under oath to tell the truth or be subject to legal prosecution herself.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:12pm
  68. Regardless of the crime, a person’s constitutional rights should not be violated. The constitution says that one state must recognize the legal unions of another state. Because of DOMA (which is obviously unconstitutional), a state that disallows SS unions is not held liable to respect and honor a union from another state. Therefor, the woman’s rights are being violated as a direct result of an unconstitutional federal law….

    If the woman committed murder, they need to prove it, beyond doubt, without testimony from her legal partner. Otherwise, her constitutional rights are being violated.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:15pm
  69. i dont actually think anyone should be able to hide behind the spouse privilege.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:18pm
  70. Sad, but true.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:21pm
  71. lol in Wisconsin, there is no privilege in murder cases.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 10:24pm
  72. Thats why you use the 5th amendment.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:07pm
  73. Erica- While I agree with you, DOMA allows the Federal Government to define marriage. Thus, technically, the full faith and credit clause was never violated because Kentucky doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage (something we need to take care of). And while we may believe that DOMA is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has to rule that it is unconstitutional on something other than procedural grounds for it to be absolute

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:24pm
  74. But if they force her to tell the prosecutor’s side of the story and forbid her to tell the defence’s side, I’ll have a problem.

    Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 11:35pm
  75. So true.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 12:12am
  76. Looks like some confusion here…

    The 5th Amendment states clearly that you canNOT be forced to testify against yourself. Federal Law and common usage says that married people are ONE person under the law. Thus Federal Law and common usage say that you canNOT be forced to testify against your spouse.

    That’s nationwide.

    And it does not matter the crime you or your spouse are being charged with.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 2:47am
  77. That’s the way it goes. She can only answer the questions she’s asked. So, it all depends on how good the lawyers are at their jobs. Which means, she shouldn’t be forced to testify against her spouse. That’s the reason this policy exists.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 8:08am
  78. She’ll be forced to testify. I live in southern indiana and KY doesn’t give a shit about gays. TBH i wouldn’t be surprised if he was trying to rape her and she did kill him because of it and then tried to hide it. People are f’ing stupid here.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 8:09am
  79. Refuse, Rebel, Resist.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 9:25am