In re Cohn

104 F. 328 (E.D. Mo. 1900)

 

RULE:

The wife was by the common law, as a matter of public policy, totally disqualified to testify for or against her husband.

FACTS:

In the examination of the bankrupt before the referee it was disclosed that he had made several payments of money to his wife for money he borrowed. Based on this disclosure, the wife of the bankrupt was ordered to appear before the referee, pursuant to the provisions of section 21 of the bankruptcy act, and submit to an examination concerning the acts, conduct, and property of the bankrupt. This objected to by the bankrupt’s attorney since the wife was incompetent to testify against her husband. The referee sustained the objection, and his action in so doing is certified here for review.

ISSUE:

Is the wife incompetent to testify in the bankruptcy proceedings of her husband?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The wife is an incompetent witness. The wife was by the common law, as a matter of public policy, totally disqualified to testify for or against her husband. That disqualification has been partially removed in Missouri, under section 4656, and, except as so removed, she is still disqualified to testify for or against her husband in any case in which she herself is not a party, and her individual rights involved.

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