Commonwealth v. Clary
Full name Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Bobbi Jo Clary
Filed 2011-?
Plaintiffs Commonwealth of Kentucky
Defendants Bobbi Jo Clary
Court Jefferson County, Kentucky Circuit Court
Current status Order issued denying marital privilege

Commonwealth v. Clary is a 2011-2014 murder case. The case, 11-CR-3329, is assigned to Judge Susan Schultz Gibson.

Background[edit | edit source]

On October 29, 2011, George Murphy died at his home in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. Prosecutors believe Bobbi Jo Clary, the defendant, committed murder by striking him with a hammer. Clary asserts that she acted in self-defense, that Murphy had been attacking her and had raped her.

Prosecutors also say that Clary's civil union partner, Geneva Case, observed evidence in the death and heard Clary admit to murder, and they seek to compel Clary to testify against Case.

In Kentucky, spouses are protected from being compelled to testify against one another in court. But same-sex marriages and civil unions are not recognized in Kentucky based on a 2004 state constitutional ban. Among the issues are whether that ban is unconstitutional based on US v. Windsor, and if so, whether a Vermont civil union should be granted the same privileges as an out-of-state marriage.

On September 23, Judge Gibson issued an order denying Bobbi Jo Clary's motion to invoke the marital privilege, and denying Geneva Case's motion to quash the subpoena issued against her. Her reasoning was that since Clary and Case are in a civil union, they are not considered married in Vermont, so even if Kentucky's marriage ban were unconstitutional, it would not allow the couple to invoke spousal privilege. Therefore, the court did not even reach that question.

The defendant or her civil union partner may appeal that decision. If they do not, the trial is expected to begin on February 7, 2014.

Briefs[edit | edit source]

Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 2013-07-30: Hearing on whether Case will have to testify against Clary
  • 2013-08-16: (hearing?)
  • 2013-08-30: (original planned date for trial to begin?)
  • 2013-09-23: Order denying motions
  • 2014-02-07: Jury trial scheduled to begin

Non-case timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 2004-12-03: Bobbi Jo Clary and Geneva Case enter into a civil union in Vermont
  • 2011-10-29: George Murphy dies at his home

Links[edit | edit source]

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