WILLIAMSBURG — On the latest episode of the Unbillable Hour, Thomas “Tom” Cleator, Esq., William “Peyton” Akers, Esq., and their Associate Attorney, Deborah “Deb” Goodwin, Esq. are back to offer their legal expertise to answer the local community’s questions, for free!
The first question in this episode involves a married couple driving off after hitting someone. The person wanted to know if they could be forced to testify if they were clearly in the passenger seat of the car at the time of the hit-and-run.
Attorney Peyton Akers explains spousal privilege, stating that one cannot be forced to testify against their own spouse. Attorney Tom Cleator adds that this privilege only extends while the two are married. Attorney Deb Goodwin further noted that in the State of Virginia, this privilege also extends to disclosing confidential communication between the parties during the time of marriage as well. This would mean, a person has a right to refuse to testify against their spouse, and they can refuse to disclose any confidential communication between the two parties. However, there are exceptions to both, as pointed out by the attorneys. If one of the parties is the victim of a domestic violence situation then the privilege may not be asserted, as the court would need to hear each spouses’ testimony. Additionally, the privilege is not applicable when the proceeding involves a crime against the property of the other or against a minor child of either spouse. While there is spousal privilege, it is not absolute.
The next question deals with what constitutes as “kidnapping” and/or what rights a grandmother would have in protecting her grandchild should this occur. It was mentioned by the grandmother that the biological mother was neglecting her child and the grandmother refused to give the child back after watching him due to concern. While the mother eventually regained custody, the caller wants to know whether the grandmother violated any laws and if this did constitute as kidnapping. What legal steps should the grandmother have taken instead?
The grandmother could potentially be liable for kidnapping, however, within the State of Virginia, kidnapping requires there to be no legal justification for the taking to be considered kidnapping. As Attorney Deb Goodwin points out, the grandmother could have an argument for legal justification if there were signs of neglect or child endangerment. Attorney Deb Goodwin continues to state multiple ways that the grandmother could have the courts involved. She could get Child Protective Services (CPS) involved, which could have led to a custody dispute. She could have also filed for custody herself. A petition for custody may be filed by any person with a legitimate interest which typically are blood relatives, such as grandparents. While custody battles often take time, filing a Motion for Emergency Hearing could lead to a temporary order in which the court decides what is best for the child while the custody dispute continues on.
Our last question involves the topic of cannibalism. The caller wanted to know whether the actual act of eating human flesh was outlawed. There are a few laws on how you obtain the body or how you cannot obtain one by grave robbing or murder, etc. However, as Attorney Tom Cleator points out, there is technically not a law prohibiting the consumption of human flesh. There is, however, one that makes it a felony to defile a dead human body. Although, it is a gray area when discussing an alive participant who willingly donates their flesh for consumption. For all intents and purposes, this situation seems to have no legal barriers.
Lastly, Attorney Deb Goodwin stated that even if someone in their will specified that their flesh could be consumed, the law against desecrating a dead body would hinder this from being legally carried out.
Listen to the full audio here
As a reminder, Akers & Cleator Law Group practice multiple areas of law. They specialize in Family Law (divorce, child/spousal support, and custody & visitation), Criminal Law (traffic, domestic, misdemeanors, and felonies), Personal Injury (auto accidents, premises injuries, wrongful death, and negligence), Civil Litigation (mental health, contracts/breach of contracts, property damage, and more), and Debt Collection (whether you are collecting a debt or have a debt against you).
Akers & Cleator Law Group are here to help!
Go to ACLawVA.com or call (757) 707-8838 to schedule a consultation.
Have a question of your own? Use the form below to submit your question and it may be featured in an upcoming session.
The Unbillable Hour is not a law firm and does not provide Legal Advice (as defined below). Further, the Attorneys of AC LAW (Akers & Cleator Law Group) hosted on The Unbillable Hour are giving their opinion based on a small set of facts and does not constitute and you understand that their opinion does not constitute Legal Advice. In a real consolation the attorney may have more questions that what you have submitted that would lead to a different opinion. Therefore, before taking any action you agree to consult an attorney specifically for you matter and not rely on The Unbillable Hour or the Attorneys hosted on The Unbillable Hour. Your use of The Unbillable Hour Material does not create an attorney client relationship between you and The Unbillable Hour, or the Attorneys hosted on The Unbillable Hour. Instead, you are and will be representing yourself in any legal matter you undertake by using The Unbillable Hour’s Materials.
The Unbillable Hour provides opinions or recommendations about your legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or templates, or strategies, or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation as given to them by your questions submitted. The Unbillable Hour and its Materials are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.
The Unbillable Hour cannot guarantee that all the information given is current or accurate. The law is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may be subject to interpretation by different courts. The law is a personal matter, and no general information like the kind The Unbillable Hour provides can fit every circumstance. Furthermore, the legal information contained on The Unbillable Hour is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up to date. Therefore, you agree that all decisions you make on legal matters are your full responsibility and you agree to retain legal counsel licensed to practice in your jurisdiction regarding any legal issue you may have.
You agree that The Unbillable Hour does not provide Legal Advice.
You agree to accept full responsibility for determining the value of and for any use you make of The Unbillable Hour Material, and for obtaining any needed assistance from a properly licensed attorney to assess the value of and appropriate uses for any The Unbillable Hour Material.
For the purposes of these Terms, Legal Advice is defined to include the following:
- any legal related communication, work or service which, under the governing law of your jurisdiction, is only allowed to be performed by or under the supervision of a properly licensed attorney;
- advice on which legal document or documents you need or are best for your situation;
determining the legal consequences that will or could result from how you have create your legal document;
- whether you have included inappropriate, conflicting, or ambiguous information in your legal documents;
- whether you have omitted any necessary provisions or details from your legal documents; and
- whether you require any additional legal documents or legal procedures.
Sponsored content by