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Confidential and Privileged Communications

An Arizona court ruled that a woman's confession of a crime, communicated to a volunteer music minister at her church in an email, was not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Key point 3-07.3. In order for the clergy-penitent privilege to apply there must be a communication that is made to a minister.
Key point 3-07.5. In some states the clergy-penitent privilege only applies to communications made to a minister in the course of "discipline." While most courts interpret this requirement broadly to cover statements made in the course of spiritual counsel and advice, others have interpreted it narrowly to apply only to confessions made to Catholic priests.
The Clergy-Penitent Privilege

* An Arizona court ruled that a woman's confession of a crime, communicated to a volunteer music minister at her church in an email, was not protected by the clergy-penitent privilege since the music minister was not a "clergyman" as required by the privilege. An adult female (Gwen) was indicted on one count of sexual conduct with a minor (a 16-year-old boy). While her ...

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Posted:
  • November 1, 2005

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