United States v. Blunt

Married criminal defendants, Hall and Blunt, were convicted of engaging in a scheme to collect unemployment compensation benefits from federal and state agencies by using the identities of military service people. They had been appointed separate defense counsel at the onset of their case, each of whom engaged in extensive motion practice at every stage of the trial proceedings. They sought to be re-tried separately so that they may each have an opportunity to present their cases without any unwarranted constraints. The Third Circuit reversed the denial of their motions for severance. The court noted that Blunt’s testimony resulted in “clear” prejudice against Hall, “both from an emotional and evidentiary standpoint.” Blunt clearly was compelled to waive her privilege and testify in her own defense at trial. She stated in her initial motion for severance that she was being made to choose between preserving her spousal privilege and providing exculpatory testimony on her own behalf. View "United States v. Blunt" on Justia Law