Judge: Wife can be compelled to testify against husband, former - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL


Judge: Wife can be compelled to testify against husband, former teacher

Source: Raycom Media Source: Raycom Media

Judge Dennis Odell has ruled that a wife can be compelled to testify against her husband in an unusual case in Blount County.

A grand jury has indicted that husband, Matthew Shane Wester, with one charge of a school employee having sexual contact with a student under 19. Prosecutors say Wester then married the student he is charged with victimizing.

Odell cites a previous court case that states spousal privilege does not apply when the spouse is the alleged victim of the crime being prosecuted.

Wester was 38 at the time he was charged and the student was 18. On Jan. 13, 2015 Wester filed for divorce from his first wife and their divorce was finalized on April 7, 2015. Wester resigned from his teaching position at Cleveland High School on Feb. 24, 2015 and on June 13, 2015 Wester married the student he was accused of victimizing.

The state expects Wester's new wife to use an Alabama statute as a way to keep her from testifying against her husband in court.

But Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey called the relationship a sham and said because the student was 18 and not married at the time of the crime, the law does not apply to her.

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