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Confidential and Privileged Communications

A Georgia court ruled that statements made by a criminal suspect to his father (an ordained minister) were not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Key point 3-07.4. In order for the clergy-penitent privilege to apply there must be a communication that is made to a minister acting in a professional capacity as a spiritual adviser.

The Clergy-Penitent Privilege

* A Georgia court ruled that statements made by a criminal suspect to his father (an ordained minister) were not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege and therefore a trial court properly allowed the father to testify concerning incriminating statements made to him by his son. A man (the "defendant') was prosecuted for several felony offenses arising from an armed home invasion. During the trial, the prosecutor subpoenaed the defendant's father because of statements the defendant had made to him admitting to his involvement in the crimes. The defendant's attorney objected to the father's testimony on the ground that he was an ordained minister, and therefore any statements ...

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Posted:
  • January 1, 2004

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