CHAPTER 57. EVIDENCE AND WITNESSES.
ARTICLE 3. COMPETENCY OF WITNESSES.
§57-3-1. Party or interested person competent as witness;
exception as to transaction or communication with
deceased or insane person; right of person sued to
give evidence in action for death by wrongful act.
No person offered as a witness in any civil action, suit or
proceeding shall be excluded by reason of his interest in the event
of the action, suit or proceeding, or because he is a party
thereto, except as follows: No party to any action, suit or
proceeding, nor any person interested in the event thereof, nor any
person from, through or under whom any such party or interested
person derives any interest or title by assignment or otherwise,
shall be examined as a witness in regard to any personal
transaction or communication between such witness and a person at
the time of such examination, deceased, insane or lunatic, against
the executor, administrator, heir at law, next of kin, assignee,
legatee, devisee or survivor of such person, or the assignee or
committee of such insane person or lunatic. But this prohibition
shall not extend to any transaction or communication as to which
any such executor, administrator, heir at law, next of kin,
assignee, legatee, devisee, survivor or committee shall be examined
on his own behalf, nor as to which the testimony of such deceased
person or lunatic shall be given in evidence: Provided, however,
That where an action is brought for causing the death of any person
by any wrongful act, neglect or default under article seven,
chapter fifty-five of this code, the person sued, or the servant,
agent or employee of any firm or corporation sued, shall have the
right to give evidence in any case in which he or it is sued, but he may not give evidence of any conversation with the deceased.
§57-3-2. Competency of husband and wife to testify.
Husband and wife shall be competent witnesses to testify for
or against each other in all cases, civil and criminal, except as
§57-3-3. Testimony of husband and wife in criminal cases.
In criminal cases husband and wife shall be allowed, and,
subject to the rules of evidence governing other witnesses, may be
compelled to testify in behalf of each other, but neither shall be
compelled, nor, without the consent of the other, allowed to be
called as a witness against the other except in the case of a
prosecution for an offense committed by one against the other, or
against the child, father, mother, sister or brother of either of
them. The failure of either husband or wife to testify, however,
shall create no presumption against the accused, nor be the subject
of any comment before the court or jury by anyone.
§57-3-4. Confidential communications between husband and wife.
Neither husband nor wife shall, without the consent of the
other, be examined in any case as to any confidential communication
made by one to the other while married, nor shall either be
permitted, without such consent, to reveal in testimony after the
marriage relation ceases any such communication made while the
§57-3-5. Competency of convicts as witnesses.
Conviction of felony or perjury shall not render the convict
incompetent to testify, but the fact of conviction may be shown in
evidence to affect his credibility.
§57-3-6. Competency of accused as witness.
In any trial or examination in or before any court or officer
for a felony or misdemeanor, the accused shall, with his consent
(but not otherwise) be a competent witness on such trial or
examination; and if he so voluntarily becomes a witness he shall,
as to all matters relevant to the issue, be deemed to have waived
his privilege of not giving evidence against himself and shall be
subject to cross-examination as any other witness; but his failure
to testify shall create no presumption against him, nor be the
subject of any comment before the court or jury by anyone.
§57-3-7. No person incompetent as witness by reason of race or
No person shall be incompetent as a witness on account of race
§57-3-8. Competency of chiropractors as witnesses.
Practitioners of chiropractic shall be permitted to qualify as
competent witnesses, insofar as chiropractic testimony or
chiropractic facts may be concerned in any civil action in any
court in this state.
WVC 57 - 3 - 9
§57-3-9. Communications to priests, nuns, clergy, rabbis,
Christian Science practitioners or other religious
counselors not subject to being compelled as
No priest, nun, rabbi, duly accredited Christian Science
practitioner or member of the clergy authorized to celebrate the
rites of marriage in this state pursuant to the provisions of
article two, chapter forty-eight of this code shall be compelled to
testify in any criminal or grand jury proceedings or in any
domestic relations action in any court of this state:
(1) With respect to any confession or communication, made to
such person, in his or her professional capacity in the course of
discipline enjoined by the church or other religious body to which
he or she belongs, without the consent of the person making such
confession or communication; or
(2) With respect to any communication made to such person, in
his or her professional capacity, by either spouse, in connection
with any effort to reconcile estranged spouses, without the consent
of the spouse making the communication. This subsection is in
addition to the protection and privilege afforded pursuant to
section three hundred one, article one, chapter forty-eight of this
WVC 57 - 3 - 10
§57-3-10. Reporters' Privilege.
(a) "Reporter" means a person who regularly gathers, prepares,
collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or
publishes news or information that concerns matters of public
interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion
of the person's livelihood, or a supervisor, or employer of that
person in that capacity: Provided,
That a student reporter at an
accredited educational institution who meets all of the
requirements of this definition, except that his or her reporting
may not provide a portion of his or her livelihood, meets the
definition of reporter for purposes of this section.
(b) No reporter may be compelled to:
(1) Testify in any civil, criminal, administrative or grand
jury proceeding in any court in this state concerning the
confidential source of any published or unpublished information
obtained by the reporter in the course of the above described
activities without the consent of the confidential source, unless
such testimony is necessary to prevent imminent death, serious
bodily injury or unjust incarceration; or
(2) Produce any information or testimony that would identify
a confidential source, without the consent of the confidential
source, unless such testimony or information is necessary to
prevent imminent death, serious bodily injury or unjust
(c) Nothing in this section shall be read to limit any existing Constitutional protections afforded any person under the
United States or West Virginia Constitutions.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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