Prosecutors will not be allowed to use phone conversations and text messages caught by wiretaps in the case of a husband and wife accused of running a drug distribution network in central New Jersey.

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A state appellate court has found the couple's conversations are privileged communications because they are married. That overturns a lower court ruling which said the communications were admissible because drug-trafficking conversations are not "worthy of protection."

The appellate court agreed in principle with the lower court, but said state laws don't provide for that "crime-fraud" exception.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said his office will seek a review of the appellate court ruling, which was made public this week. He said that withholding evidence of crimes from a jury is an obvious detriment to the public.

 

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