Weedon v. State
In Weedon v. State, 647 A.2d 1078 (Del.Supr. 1994), the defendant, William Weedon, Jr., was convicted by a jury of numerous crimes including attempted first-degree murder.
After he severely beat the victim, the defendant returned home, told his wife the details of the crime, and asked her not to tell anyone.
However, the defendant immediately told several neighbors that he had assaulted the victim earlier that morning. At the defendant's trial, Mrs. Weedon testified by reciting the details of the crime which the defendant had confided in her.
On appeal, the defendant argued, inter alia, that the trial court erred by admitting Mrs. Weedon's testimony regarding the conversation over Weedon's marital communication privilege objection.
The Supreme Court of Delaware reasoned that "disclosure by a speaker-spouse to a third party of subject matter that parallels that of an earlier, otherwise privileged marital communication constitutes waiver." 647 A.2d at 1081.
The court held, "Weedon waived the privilege by his subsequent actions. In disclosing to third parties that he 'took care' of Ward, Weedon repeated in substance (absent details) that which he had earlier told his wife to keep secret." 647 A.2d at 1082.