Article 7.

Competency of Witnesses.

§ 8-49.  Witness not excluded by interest or crime.

No person offered as a witness shall be excluded, by reason of incapacity from interest or crime, from giving evidence either in person or by deposition, according to the practice of the court, on the trial of any issue joined, or of any matter or question, or on any inquiry arising in any suit or proceeding, civil or criminal, in any court, or before any judge, justice, jury or other person having, by law, authority to hear, receive and examine evidence; and every person so offered shall be admitted to give evidence, notwithstanding such person may or shall have an interest in the matter in question, or in the event of the trial of the issue, or of the suit or other proceeding in which he is offered as a witness. This section shall not be construed to apply to attesting witnesses to wills. (1866, c. 43, ss. 1, 4; C.C.P., c. 342; 1869-70, c. 177; 1871-2, c. 4; Code, ss. 589, 1350; Rev., ss. 1628, 1629; C.S., s. 1792.)

 

§ 8-50.  Parties competent as witnesses.

(a)        On the trial of any issue, or of any matter or question, or on any inquiry arising in any action, suit or other proceeding in court, or before any judge, justice, jury or other person having, by law, authority to hear and examine evidence, the parties themselves and the person in whose behalf any suit or other proceeding may be brought or defended, shall, except as otherwise provided, be competent and compellable to give evidence, either viva voce or by deposition, according to the practice of the court, in behalf of either or any of the parties to said action, suit or other proceeding. Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to any action or other proceeding in any court instituted in consequence of adultery, or to any action for criminal conversation.

(b), (c). Repealed by Session Laws 1967, c. 954, s. 4. (1866, c. 43, ss. 2, 3; Code, s. 1351; Rev., s. 1630; C.S., s. 1793; 1953, c. 885, s. 1; 1967, c. 954, s. 4.)

 

§ 8-50.1.  Competency of blood tests; jury charge; taxing of expenses as costs.

(a)        In the trial of any criminal action or proceeding in any court in which the question of parentage arises, regardless of any presumptions with respect to parentage, the court before whom the matter may be brought, upon motion of the State or the defendant, shall order that the alleged-parent defendant, the known natural parent, and the child submit to any blood tests and comparisons which have been developed and adapted for purposes of establishing or disproving parentage and which are reasonably accessible to the alleged-parent defendant, the known natural parent, and the child. The results of those blood tests and comparisons, including the statistical likelihood of the alleged parent's parentage, if available, shall be admitted in evidence when offered by a duly qualified, licensed practicing physician, duly qualified immunologist, duly qualified geneticist, or other duly qualified person. Upon receipt of a motion and the entry of an order under the provisions of this subsection, the court shall proceed as follows:

(1)        Where the issue of parentage is to be decided by a jury, where the results of those blood tests and comparisons are not shown to be inconsistent with the results of any other blood tests and comparisons, and where the results of those blood tests and comparisons indicate that the alleged-parent defendant cannot be the natural parent of the child, the jury shall be instructed that if they believe that the witness presenting the results testified truthfully as to those results, and if they believe that the tests and comparisons were conducted properly, then it will be their duty to decide that the alleged-parent is not the natural parent; whereupon, the court shall enter the special verdict of not guilty; and

(2)        By requiring the State or defendant, as the case may be, requesting the blood tests and comparisons pursuant to this subsection to initially be responsible for any of the expenses thereof and upon the entry of a special verdict incorporating a finding of parentage or nonparentage, by taxing the expenses for blood tests and comparisons, in addition to any fees for expert witnesses allowed per G.S. 7A-314 whose testimonies supported the admissibility thereof, as costs in accordance with G.S. 7A-304; G.S. Chapter 6, Article 7; or G.S. 7A-315, as applicable.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c. 333, s. 2.

(b1)      In the trial of any civil action in which the question of parentage arises, the court shall, on motion of a party, order the mother, the child, and the alleged father-defendant to submit to one or more blood or genetic marker tests, to be performed by a duly certified physician or other expert. The court shall require the person requesting the blood or genetic marker tests to pay the costs of the tests. The court may, in its discretion, tax as part of costs the expenses for blood or genetic marker tests and comparisons. Verified documentary evidence of the chain of custody of the blood specimens obtained pursuant to this subsection shall be competent evidence to establish the chain of custody.  Any party objecting to or contesting the procedures or results of the blood or genetic marker tests shall file with the court written objections setting forth the basis for the objections and shall serve copies thereof upon all other parties not less than 10 days prior to any hearing at which the results may be introduced into evidence.  The person contesting the results of the blood or genetic marker tests has the right to subpoena the testing expert pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure.  If no objections are filed within the time and manner prescribed, the test results are admissible as evidence of paternity without the need for foundation testimony or other proof of authenticity or accuracy.  The results of the blood or genetic marker tests shall have the following effect:

(1)        If the court finds that the conclusion of all the experts, as disclosed by the evidence based upon the test, is that the probability of the alleged parent's parentage is less than eighty-five percent (85%), the alleged parent is presumed not to be the parent and the evidence shall be admitted.  This presumption may be rebutted only by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence;

(2)        If the experts disagree in their findings or conclusions, the question of paternity shall be submitted upon all the evidence;

(3)        If the tests show that the alleged parent is not excluded and that the probability of the alleged parent's parentage is between eighty-five percent (85%) and ninety-seven percent (97%), this evidence shall be admitted by the court and shall be weighed with other competent evidence;

(4)        If the experts conclude that the genetic tests show that the alleged parent is not excluded and that the probability of the alleged parent's parentage is ninety-seven percent (97%) or higher, the alleged parent is presumed to be the parent and this evidence shall be admitted.  This presumption may be rebutted only by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. (1949, c. 51; 1965, c. 618; 1975, c. 449, ss. 1, 2; 1979, c. 576, s. 1; 1993, c. 333, s. 2; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 733, s. 1.)

 

§ 8-50.2.  Results of speed-measuring instruments; admissibility.

(a)       The results of the use of radio microwave, laser, or other speed-measuring instruments shall be admissible as evidence of the speed of an object in any criminal or civil proceeding for the purpose of corroborating the opinion of a person as to the speed of an object based upon the visual observation of the object by such person.

(b)       Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the results of a radio microwave, laser, or other electronic speed-measuring instrument are not admissible in any proceeding unless it is found that:

(1)       The operator of the instrument held, at the time the results of the speed-measuring instrument were obtained, a certificate from the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) authorizing him to operate the speed-measuring instrument from which the results were obtained.

(2)       The operator of the instrument operated the speed-measuring instrument in accordance with the procedures established by the Commission for the operation of such instrument.

(3)       The instrument employed was approved for use by the Commission and the Secretary of Public Safety pursuant to G.S. 17C-6.

(4)       The speed-measuring instrument had been calibrated and tested for accuracy in accordance with the standards established by the Commission for that particular instrument.

(c)       All radio microwave, laser, and other electronic speed-measuring instruments shall be tested for accuracy within a 12-month period prior to the alleged violation by a technician possessing at least a General Radiotelephone Operator License from the Federal Communications Commissions or possessing a Certified Electronics Technician certificate issued by a Federal Communications Commission Commercial Operators License Examination Manager or by a laboratory established by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. A written certificate by the technician or laboratory showing that the test was made within the required period and that the instrument was accurate shall be competent and prima facie evidence of those facts in any proceeding referred to in subsection (a) of this section.

All radio microwave, laser, and other speed enforcement instruments shall be tested in accordance with standards established by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. The Commission shall provide for certification of all radio microwave, laser, and other speed enforcement instruments.

(d)       In every proceeding where the results of a radio microwave, laser, or other speed-measuring instrument is sought to be admitted, judicial notice shall be taken of the rules approving the use of the models and types of radio microwave, laser, and other speed-measuring instruments and the procedures for operation and calibration or measuring accuracy of such instruments.  (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1184, s. 3; 1983, c. 34; 1987, c. 318; c. 827, s. 60; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 1; 2005-137, s. 1; 2011-145, s. 19.1(g).)

 

§ 8-50.3:  Expired September 30, 2007.

 

§ 8-51: Repealed by Session Laws 1983 (Regular Session, 1984), c. 1037, s. 5.

 

§ 8-51.1.  Dying declarations.

Dying declarations admissible in administrative proceedings shall be as provided in G.S. 8C-1, Rule 804. (1973, c. 464, s. 1; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1037, s. 11.)

 

§ 8-52.  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 41.

 

§ 8-53.  Communications between health care provider and patient.

No person, duly authorized to practice under Article 1 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes, shall be required to disclose any information which he may have acquired in attending a patient in a professional character, and which information was necessary to enable him to prescribe for such patient as a physician, or to do any act for him as a surgeon, and no such information shall be considered public records under G.S. 132-1. Confidential information obtained in medical records shall be furnished only on the authorization of the patient, or if deceased, the executor, administrator, or, in the case of unadministered estates, the next of kin. Any resident or presiding judge in the district, either at the trial or prior thereto, or the Industrial Commission pursuant to law may, subject to G.S. 8-53.6, compel disclosure if in his opinion disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice. If the case is in district court the judge shall be a district court judge, and if the case is in superior court the judge shall be a superior court judge.  (1885, c. 159; Rev., s. 1621; C.S., s. 1798; 1969, c. 914; 1977, c. 1118; 1983, c. 410, ss. 1, 2; c. 471; 2019-191, s. 41.)

 

§ 8-53.1.  Physician-patient and nurse privilege; limitations.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 8-53 and G.S. 8-53.13, the physician-patient or nurse privilege shall not be a ground for excluding evidence regarding the abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 16 years or regarding an illness of or injuries to such child or the cause thereof in any judicial proceeding related to a report pursuant to the North Carolina Juvenile Code, Chapter 7B of the General Statutes of North Carolina.

(b)        Nothing in this Article shall preclude a health care provider, as defined in G.S. 90-21.11, from disclosing information pursuant to G.S. 90-21.20B. (1965, c. 472, s. 2; 1971, c. 710, s. 2; 1981, c. 469, s. 24; 1998-202, s. 13(b); 2004-186, s. 16.2; 2006-253, s. 18; 2007-115, s. 4.)

 

§ 8-53.2.  Communications between clergymen and communicants.

No priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science practitioner, or a clergyman or ordained minister of an established church shall be competent to testify in any action, suit or proceeding concerning any information which was communicated to him and entrusted to him in his professional capacity, and necessary to enable him to discharge the functions of his office according to the usual course of his practice or discipline, wherein such person so communicating such information about himself or another is seeking spiritual counsel and advice relative to and growing out of the information so imparted, provided, however, that this section shall not apply where communicant in open court waives the privilege conferred. (1959, c. 646; 1963, c. 200; 1967, c. 794.)

 

§ 8-53.3.  Communications between psychologist and client or patient.

No person, duly authorized as a licensed psychologist or licensed psychological associate, nor any of his or her employees or associates, shall be required to disclose any information which he or she may have acquired in the practice of psychology and which information was necessary to enable him or her to practice psychology. Any resident or presiding judge in the district in which the action is pending may, subject to G.S. 8-53.6, compel disclosure, either at the trial or prior thereto, if in his or her opinion disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice. If the case is in district court the judge shall be a district court judge, and if the case is in superior court the judge shall be a superior court judge.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the psychologist-client or patient privilege shall not be grounds for failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate county department of social services, or for failure to report a disabled adult suspected to be in need of protective services to the appropriate county department of social services. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the psychologist-client or patient privilege shall not be grounds for excluding evidence regarding the abuse or neglect of a child, or an illness of or injuries to a child, or the cause thereof, or for excluding evidence regarding the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a disabled adult, or an illness of or injuries to a disabled adult, or the cause thereof, in any judicial proceeding related to a report pursuant to the Child Abuse Reporting Law, Article 3 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes, or to the Protection of the Abused, Neglected, or Exploited Disabled Adult Act, Article 6 of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes. (1967, c. 910, s. 18; 1983, c. 410, ss. 3, 7; 1987, c. 323, s. 2; 1993, c. 375, s. 2; c. 553, s. 78; 1998-202, s. 13(c).)

 

§ 8-53.4.  School counselor privilege.

No person certified by the State Department of Public Instruction as a school counselor and duly appointed or designated as such by the governing body of a public school system within this State or by the head of any private school within this State shall be competent to testify in any action, suit, or proceeding concerning any information acquired in rendering counseling services to any student enrolled in such public school system or private school, and which information was necessary to enable him to render counseling services; provided, however, that this section shall not apply where the student in open court waives the privilege conferred. Any resident or presiding judge in the district in which the action is pending may compel disclosure, either at the trial or prior thereto, if in his opinion disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice. If the case is in district court the judge shall be the district court judge, and if the case is in superior court the judge shall be a superior court judge. (1971, c. 943; 1983, c. 410, ss. 4, 5.)

 

§ 8-53.5.  Communications between licensed marital and family therapist and client(s).

No person, duly licensed as a licensed marriage and family therapist, nor any of the person's employees or associates, shall be required to disclose any information which the person may have acquired in rendering professional marriage and family therapy services, and which information was necessary to enable the person to render professional marriage and family therapy services. Any resident or presiding judge in the district in which the action is pending may, subject to G.S. 8-53.6, compel disclosure, either at the trial or prior thereto, if in the court's opinion disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice. If the case is in district court the judge shall be a district court judge, and if the case is in superior court the judge shall be a superior court judge. (1979, c. 697, s. 2; 1983, c. 410, ss. 6, 7; 1985, c. 223. s. 1; 2001-487, s. 40(a); 2004-203, s. 18.)

 

§ 8-53.6.  No disclosure in alimony and divorce actions.

In an action pursuant to G.S. 50-5.1, 50-6, 50-7, 50-16.2A, and 50-16.3A if either or both of the parties have sought and obtained marital counseling by a licensed physician, licensed psychologist, licensed psychological associate, licensed clinical social worker, or licensed marriage and family therapist, the person or persons rendering such counseling shall not be competent to testify in the action concerning information acquired while rendering such counseling. (1983, c. 410, s. 8; 2001-152, s. 1.)

 

§ 8-53.7.  Social worker privilege.

No person engaged in delivery of private social work services, duly licensed or certified pursuant to Chapter 90B of the General Statutes shall be required to disclose any information that he or she may have acquired in rendering professional social services, and which information was necessary to enable him or her to render professional social services: provided, that the presiding judge of a superior or district court may compel such disclosure, if in the court's opinion the same is necessary to a proper administration of justice and such disclosure is not prohibited by G.S. 8-53.6 or any other statute or regulation. (1983, c. 495, s. 2; 2001-152, s. 2; 2001-487, s. 40(b).)

 

§ 8-53.8.  Counselor privilege.

No person, duly licensed pursuant to Chapter 90, Article 24, of the General Statutes, shall be required to disclose any information which he or she may have acquired in rendering professional counseling services, and which information was necessary to enable him or her to render professional counseling services: Provided, that the presiding judge of a superior or district court may compel such disclosure, if in the court's opinion the same is necessary to a proper administration of justice and such disclosure is not prohibited by other statute or regulation. (1983, c. 755, s. 2; 1993, c. 514, s. 2.)

 

§ 8-53.9.  Optometrist/patient privilege.

No person licensed pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes shall be required to disclose any information that may have been acquired in rendering professional optometric services and which information was necessary to enable that person to render professional optometric services, except that the presiding judge of a superior or district court may compel this disclosure, if, in the court's opinion, disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice and disclosure is not prohibited by other statute or rule. (1997-75, s. 4; 1997-304, 3.)

 

§ 8-53.10.  Peer support group counselors.

(a)        Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        Client law enforcement employee. - Any law enforcement employee or a member of his or her immediate family who is in need of and receives peer counseling services offered by the officer's employing law enforcement agency.

(2)        Immediate family. - A spouse, child, stepchild, parent, or stepparent.

(3)        Peer counselor. - Any law enforcement officer or civilian employee of a law enforcement agency who:

a.         Has received training to provide emotional and moral support and counseling to client law enforcement employees and their immediate families; and

b.         Was designated by the sheriff, police chief, or other head of a law enforcement agency to counsel a client law enforcement employee.

(4)        Privileged communication. - Any communication made by a client law enforcement employee or a member of the client law enforcement employee's immediate family to a peer counselor while receiving counseling.

(b)        A peer counselor shall not disclose any privileged communication that was necessary to enable the counselor to render counseling services unless one of the following apply:

(1)        The disclosure is authorized by the client or, if the client is deceased, the disclosure is authorized by the client's executor, administrator, or in the case of unadministrated estates, the client's next of kin.

(2)        The disclosure is necessary to the proper administration of justice and, subject to G.S. 8-53.6, is compelled by a resident or presiding judge. If the case is in district court the judge shall be a district court judge, and if the case is in superior court the judge shall be a superior court judge.

(c)        The privilege established by this section shall not apply:

(1)        If the peer counselor was an initial responding officer, a witness, or a party to the incident that prompted the delivery of peer counseling services.

(2)        To communications made while the peer counselor was not acting in his or her official capacity as a peer counselor.

(3)        To communications related to a violation of criminal law. This subdivision does not require the disclosure of otherwise privileged communications related to an officer's use of force.

(d)       Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the peer counselor privilege shall not be grounds for failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate county department of social services, or for failure to report a disabled adult suspected to be in need of protective services to the appropriate county department of social services. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the peer counselor privilege shall not be grounds for excluding evidence regarding the abuse or neglect of a child, or an illness of or injuries to a child, or the cause thereof, or for excluding evidence regarding the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a disabled adult, or an illness of or injuries to a disabled adult, or the cause thereof, in any judicial proceeding related to a report pursuant to the Child Abuse Reporting Law, Article 3 of Chapter 7B, or to the Protection of the Abused, Neglected, or Exploited Disabled Adult Act, Article 6 of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes. (1999-374, s. 1.)

 

§ 8-53.11.  Persons, companies, or other entities engaged in gathering or dissemination of news.

(a)        Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        Journalist. - Any person, company, or entity, or the employees, independent contractors, or agents of that person, company, or entity, engaged in the business of gathering, compiling, writing, editing, photographing, recording, or processing information for dissemination via any news medium.

(2)        Legal proceeding. - Any grand jury proceeding or grand jury investigation; any criminal prosecution, civil suit, or related proceeding in any court; and any judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding before any administrative, legislative, or regulatory board, agency, or tribunal.

(3)        News medium. - Any entity regularly engaged in the business of publication or distribution of news via print, broadcast, or other electronic means accessible to the general public.

(b)        A journalist has a qualified privilege against disclosure in any legal proceeding of any confidential or nonconfidential information, document, or item obtained or prepared while acting as a journalist.

(c)        In order to overcome the qualified privilege provided by subsection (b) of this section, any person seeking to compel a journalist to testify or produce information must establish by the greater weight of the evidence that the testimony or production sought:

(1)        Is relevant and material to the proper administration of the legal proceeding for which the testimony or production is sought;

(2)        Cannot be obtained from alternate sources; and

(3)        Is essential to the maintenance of a claim or defense of the person on whose behalf the testimony or production is sought.

Any order to compel any testimony or production as to which the qualified privilege has been asserted shall be issued only after notice to the journalist and a hearing and shall include clear and specific findings as to the showing made by the person seeking the testimony or production.

(d)       Notwithstanding subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a journalist has no privilege against disclosure of any information, document, or item obtained as the result of the journalist's eyewitness observations of criminal or tortious conduct, including any physical evidence or visual or audio recording of the observed conduct. (1999-267, s. 1.)

 

§ 8-53.12.  Communications with agents of rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs privileged.

(a)       Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)       Agent. - An employee or agent of a center who has completed a minimum of 20 hours of training as required by the center, or a volunteer, under the direct supervision of a center supervisor, who has completed a minimum of 20 hours of training as required by the center.

(2)       Center. - A domestic violence program or rape crisis center.

(3)       Domestic violence program. - A nonprofit organization or program whose primary purpose is to provide services to domestic violence victims.

(4)       Domestic violence victim. - Any person alleging domestic violence as defined by G.S. 50B-1, who consults an agent of a domestic violence program for the purpose of obtaining, for himself or herself, advice, counseling, or other services concerning mental, emotional, or physical injuries suffered as a result of the domestic violence. The term shall also include those persons who have a significant relationship with a victim of domestic violence and who have sought, for themselves, advice, counseling, or other services concerning a mental, physical, or emotional condition caused or reasonably believed to be caused by the domestic violence against the victim.

(5)       Rape crisis center. - Any publicly or privately funded agency, institution, organization, or facility that offers counseling and other services to victims of sexual assault and their families.

(6)       Services. - Includes, but is not limited to, crisis hotlines; safe homes and shelters; assessment and intake; children of violence services; individual counseling; support in medical, administrative, and judicial systems; transportation, relocation, and crisis intervention. The term does not include investigation of physical or sexual assault of children under the age of 16.

(7)       Sexual assault. - Any alleged violation of G.S. 14-27.21, 14-27.22, 14-27.24, 14-27.25, 14-27.26, 14-27.27, 14-27.29, 14-27.30, 14-27.31, 14-27.32, or 14-202.1, whether or not a civil or criminal action arises as a result of the alleged violation.

(8)       Sexual assault victim. - Any person alleging sexual assault, who consults an agent of a rape crisis center for the purpose of obtaining, for themselves, advice, counseling, or other services concerning mental, physical, or emotional injuries suffered as a result of sexual assault. The term shall also include those persons who have a significant relationship with a victim of sexual assault and who have sought, for themselves, advice, counseling, or other services concerning a mental, physical, or emotional condition caused or reasonably believed to be caused by sexual assault of a victim.

(9)       Victim. - A sexual assault victim or a domestic violence victim.

(b)       Privileged Communications. - No agent of a center shall be required to disclose any information which the agent acquired during the provision of services to a victim and which information was necessary to enable the agent to render the services; provided, however, that this subsection shall not apply where the victim waives the privilege conferred. Any agent or center that receives a request for such information shall make every effort to inform the victim of the request and provide the victim a copy of the request if the request was in writing. Any resident or presiding judge in the district in which the action is pending shall compel disclosure, either at the trial or prior thereto, if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, a good faith, specific and reasonable basis for believing that (i) the records or testimony sought contain information that is relevant and material to factual issues to be determined in a civil proceeding, or is relevant, material, and exculpatory upon the issue of guilt, degree of guilt, or sentencing in a criminal proceeding for the offense charged or any lesser included offense, (ii) the evidence is not sought merely for character impeachment purposes, and (iii) the evidence sought is not merely cumulative of other evidence or information available or already obtained by the party seeking the disclosure or the party's counsel. If the case is in district court, the judge shall be a district court judge, and if the case is in superior court, the judge shall be a superior court judge.

The judge in any court proceeding subject to this section shall inquire as to whether the victim is present and wishes to be heard. If the victim is present and wishes to be heard, the court shall grant the victim an opportunity to be reasonably heard. The right to be reasonably heard may be exercised, at the victim's discretion, through an oral statement, submission of a written statement, or submission of an audio or video statement. Before requiring production of records, the court must find that the party seeking disclosure has made a sufficient showing that the records are likely to contain information subject to disclosure under this subsection. If the court finds a sufficient showing has been made, the court shall order that the records be produced for the court under seal, shall examine the records in camera, and may allow disclosure of those portions of the records which the court finds contain information subject to disclosure under this subsection. After all appeals in the action have been exhausted, any records received by the court under seal shall be returned to the center, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The privilege afforded under this subsection terminates upon the death of the victim.

(c)       Duty in Case of Abuse or Neglect. - Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve any person of any duty pertaining to abuse or neglect of a child or disabled adult as required by law.  (2001-277, s. 1; 2015-181, s. 31; 2019-216, s. 1.5.)

 

§ 8-53.13.  Nurse privilege.

No person licensed pursuant to Article 9A of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes shall be required to disclose any information that may have been acquired in rendering professional nursing services, and which information was necessary to enable that person to render professional nursing services, except that the presiding judge of a superior or district court may compel disclosure if, in the court's opinion, disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice and disclosure is not prohibited by other statute or rule. Nothing in this section shall preclude the admission of otherwise admissible written or printed medical records in any judicial proceeding, in accordance with the procedure set forth in G.S. 8-44.1, after a determination by the court that disclosure should be compelled as set forth herein. (2003-342, s. 1; 2004-186, s. 16.1.)

 

§ 8-54.  Defendant in criminal action competent but not compellable to testify.

In the trial of all indictments, complaints, or other proceedings against persons charged with the commission of crimes, offenses or misdemeanors, the person so charged is, at his own request, but not otherwise, a competent witness, and his failure to make such request shall not create any presumption against him. But every such person examined as a witness shall be subject to cross-examination as other witnesses. Except as above provided, nothing in this section shall render any person, who in any criminal proceeding is charged with the commission of a criminal offense, competent or compellable to give evidence against himself, nor render any person compellable to answer any question tending to criminate himself. (1856-7, c. 23; 1866, c. 43, s. 3; 1868-9, c. 209, s. 4; 1881, c. 89, s. 3; c. 110, ss. 2, 3; Code ss. 1353, 1354; Rev., ss. 1634, 1635; C.S., s. 1799.)

 

§ 8-55.  Testimony enforced in certain criminal investigations; immunity.

If any justice, judge or magistrate of the General Court of Justice shall have good reason to believe that any person within his jurisdiction has knowledge of the existence and establishment of any faro bank, faro table or other gaming table prohibited by law, or of any place where alcoholic beverages are sold contrary to law, in any town or county within his jurisdiction, such person not being minded to make voluntary information thereof on oath, then it shall be lawful for such justice, magistrate, or judge to issue to the sheriff of the county in which such faro bank, faro table, gaming table, or place where alcoholic beverages are sold contrary to law is supposed to be a subpoena, capias ad testificandum, or other summons in writing, commanding such person to appear immediately before such justice, magistrate, or judge and give evidence on oath as to what he may know touching the existence, establishment and whereabouts of such faro bank, faro table or other gaming table, or place where alcoholic beverages are sold contrary to law, and the name and personal description of the keeper thereof. Such evidence, when obtained, shall be considered and held in law as an information on oath, and the justice, magistrate or judge may thereupon proceed to seize and arrest such keeper and destroy such table, or issue process therefor as provided by law. No person shall be excused, on any prosecution, from  testifying touching any unlawful gaming done by himself or others; but no discovery made by the witness upon such examination shall be used against him in any penal or criminal prosecution, and he shall be altogether pardoned of the offenses so done or participated in by him. (R.C., c. 35, s. 50; 1858-9, c. 34, s. 1; Code, ss. 1050, 1215; 1889, c. 355; Rev., ss. 1637, 3721; 1913, c. 141; C.S., s. 1800; 1969, c. 44, s. 22; 1971, c. 381, s. 4; 1981, c. 412, s. 4(4); c. 747, s. 66.)

 

§ 8-56.  Husband and wife as witnesses in civil action.

In any trial or inquiry in any suit, action or proceeding in any court, or before any person having, by law or consent of parties, authority to examine witnesses or hear evidence, the husband or wife of any party thereto, or of any person in whose behalf any such suit, action or proceeding is brought, prosecuted, opposed or defended, shall, except as herein stated, be competent and compellable to give evidence, as any other witness on behalf of any party to such suit, action or proceeding. No husband or wife shall be compellable to disclose any confidential communication made by one to the other during their marriage. (1866, c. 43, ss. 3, 4; C.C.P., s. 341; Code, s. 588; Rev., s. 1636; 1919, c. 18; C.S., s. 1801; 1945, c. 635; 1977, c. 547; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1037, s. 3.)

 

§ 8-57.  Husband and wife as witnesses in criminal actions.

(a)       The spouse of the defendant shall be a competent witness for the defendant in all criminal actions, but the failure of the defendant to call such spouse as a witness shall not be used against him. Such spouse is subject to cross-examination as are other witnesses.

(b)       The spouse of the defendant shall be competent but not compellable to testify for the State against the defendant in any criminal action or grand jury proceedings, except that the spouse of the defendant shall be both competent and compellable to so testify:

(1)       In a prosecution for bigamy or criminal cohabitation, to prove the fact of marriage and facts tending to show the absence of divorce or annulment;

(2)       In a prosecution for assaulting or communicating a threat to the other spouse;

(3)       In a prosecution for trespass in or upon the separate lands or residence of the other spouse when living separate and apart from each other by mutual consent or court order;

(4)       In a prosecution for abandonment of or failure to provide support for the other spouse or their child;

(5)       In a prosecution of one spouse for any other criminal offense against the minor child of either spouse, including any child of either spouse who is born out of wedlock or adopted or a foster child.

(c)       No husband or wife shall be compellable in any event to disclose any confidential communication made by one to the other during their marriage.  (1856-7, c. 23; 1866, c. 43; 1868-9, c. 209; 1881, c. 110; Code, ss. 588, 1353, 1354; Rev., ss. 1634, 1635, 1636; C.S., s. 1802; 1933, c. 13, s. 1; c. 361; 1951, c. 296; 1957, c. 1036; 1967, c. 116; 1971, c. 800; 1973, c. 1286, s. 11; 1983, c. 170, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 843, s. 5; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1040, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1039, s. 4; 1991, c, 686, s. 3; 2013-198, s. 2.)

 

§ 8-57.1.  Husband-wife privilege waived in child abuse.

Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 8-56 and G.S. 8-57, the husband-wife privilege shall not be ground for excluding evidence regarding the abuse or neglect of a child under the age of 16 years or regarding an illness of or injuries to such child or the cause thereof in any judicial proceeding related to a report pursuant to the Child Abuse Reporting Law, Article 3 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes of North Carolina. (1971, c. 710, s. 3; 1998-202, s. 13(d).)

 

§ 8-57.2.  Presumed father or mother as witnesses where paternity at issue.

Whenever an issue of paternity of a child born or conceived during a marriage arises in any civil or criminal proceeding, the presumed father or the mother of such child is competent to give evidence as to any relevant matter regarding paternity of the child, including nonaccess to the present or former spouse, regardless of any privilege which may otherwise apply. No parent offering such evidence shall thereafter be prosecuted based upon that evidence for any criminal act involved in the conception of the child whose paternity is in issue and/or for whom support is sought, except for perjury committed in this testimony. (1981, c. 634, s. 1.)

 

§ 8-58: Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 1286, ss. 11, 26.

 

§ 8-58.1.  Injured party as witness when medical charges at issue.

(a)       Whenever an issue of hospital, medical, dental, pharmaceutical, or funeral charges arises in any civil proceeding, the injured party or his guardian, administrator, or executor is competent to give evidence regarding the amount paid or required to be paid in full satisfaction of such charges, provided that records or copies of such charges showing the amount paid or required to be paid in full satisfaction of such charges accompany such testimony.

(b)       The testimony of a person pursuant to subsection (a) of this section establishes a rebuttable presumption of the reasonableness of the amount paid or required to be paid in full satisfaction of the charges. However, in the event that the provider of hospital, medical, dental, pharmaceutical, or funeral services gives sworn testimony that the charge for that provider's service either was satisfied by payment of an amount less than the amount charged, or can be satisfied by payment of an amount less than the amount charged, then with respect to that provider's charge only, the presumption of the reasonableness of the amount charged is rebutted and a rebuttable presumption is established that the lesser satisfaction amount is the reasonable amount of the charges for the testifying provider's services. For the purposes of this subsection, the word "provider" shall include the agent or employee of a provider of hospital, medical, dental, pharmaceutical, or funeral services, or a person with responsibility to pay a provider of hospital, medical, dental, pharmaceutical, or funeral services on behalf of an injured party.

(c)       The fact that a provider charged for services provided to the injured person establishes a permissive presumption that the services provided were reasonably necessary but no presumption is established that the services provided were necessary because of injuries caused by the acts or omissions of an alleged tortfeasor.  (1983, c. 776, s. 1; 2011-283, s. 1.2; 2011-317, s. 1.1.)

 

§ 8-58.2.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 8-58.3.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 8-58.4.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 8-58.5.  Reserved for future codification purposes.