Hmm… apparently SOMEBODY doesn’t work with a three-week lead time…


Is That is Priceless in newspapers at all? Maybe the three-week thing only applies to print comics, even if you’re working through GoComics  or another syndicate?

By all logic, I think, in 2019 comic strip artists should have the option of being as timely as editorial cartoonists: it’s not as if they have to put the physical drawing in an envelope and mail it in.


  1. Usual John: How is your first paragraph different than what I (or rather Wikipedia) said?

  2. Winter Wallaby, the difference is that the government must produce evidence of complicity before the court will even admit the testimony.

  3. The nature of the spousal privilege (even its existence) varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I’m sure you’ve been assuming that California law would apply, but it’s possible that relevant communications happened outside California, bringing a choice-of-law question into it. Better to take the bird in hand, I would think.

    Another possible issue that hasn’t been addressed above yet: There’s the part where if they have any kids left at home, putting both parents away at the same time is a burden on the state.

    Plus, there’s the fact that the hearsay would have to fall under one or more of the hearsay exceptions.

  4. On a completely different thing: Is it a swipe at Ms. Huffman that she’s allegedly referred to in a painting from 1891?

  5. James Pollock: The case is brought in federal court, specifically the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The controlling precedent is that from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (and the Supreme Court, of course). The First Circuit recognizes the spousal privilege in the form discussed above.

    While that’s a good point about kids at home, I believe that Macy and Huffman have only the two college-age daughters.

  6. Usual John: Do you mean that they need to produce evidence of complicity independently of the spousal testimony? That wasn’t clear to me from the case you sent. (Although the opposite wasn’t clear either, I’ll take your word for it if you’re saying it is.)

  7. Winter Wallaby: That was the way I read it, but frankly, I’m not completely sure either. However, the general rule is that a confession alone is insufficient to support a conviction; there must be some kind of corroborative evidence to show the trustworthiness of the confession (although this standard, known as the corpus delicti rule, is an easy standard to meet). So I’m inclined to think that there must be some evidence of complicity beyond just the testimony. However, I have not researched this.

  8. ” The controlling precedent is that from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (and the Supreme Court, of course).”

    You still have choice-of-law problems if the allegedly incriminating statements were made in a different Circuit. And if the state law and the federal law diverges significantly, you might be generating grounds for an appeal.

  9. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 501, the privilege is governed by federal common law (although state law can still be important on some issues, such as whether there is a marriage). As for a Circuit deferring to another Circuit, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Of course, if there’s a change of venue, that’s a different matter. Macy and Huffman would probably rather be tried in the District of Colorado, where they live, rather than the District of Massachusetts, where the case was brought. I suspect that the argument for a change of venue is weak, but don’t know enough about criminal procedure to say.

  10. “Under Federal Rule of Evidence 501, the privilege is governed by federal common law”

    Yet under Erie (304 U.S. 64 (1938)), there is no such thing as federal common law, only the common law of the states. (Yes, I know. That applies to substantive law and not to procedural, and evidence is procedural. But there’s an argument to be made that privilege should not fall under, or not solely under, “procedural” as a category.

    I’m assuming that the District of Massachusetts was selected because the school that was allegedly defrauded is there, and therefore the criminal act(s) alleged took place there. But without having facts, It’s impossible to say. (if this is one of the cases where the “consultant” paid off the test proctor to alter test scores, it’s possible that wherever the kid(s) took the entrance exam is the most proper venue. If it’s one where they paid off a sports coach to tab the student despite not actually wanting the kid on the team, then it’s wherever that coach is employed.)

    I didn’t take criminal law at all… I studied up on it for the six weeks before taking the bar exam, but don’t really have much interest in criminal law. I graduated in December, 2010, into the teeth of the biggest legal recession since the Great Depression.

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