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Confidential and Privileged Communications

• The Supreme Court of Idaho emphasized that the clergy-penitent privilege will not apply to any conversation that is not confidential. During the trial of a suspected rapist, the prosecution called a clergyman to the witness stand to testify regarding comments made to him by the accused three days before the rape. The clergyman testified that immediately following a Sunday morning worship service three days before the rape, the accused had approached him and stated that he "was really hurting and that he couldn't live without [the rape victim]"—who was his former wife. The clergyman testified that this conversation had occurred while "many people were hanging around as they usually do" following a service, and that "we [the clergyman and the accused] talked with quite a number of people." The accused claimed that the prosecution erred in allowing the statements made by the accused ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1989

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