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Murder Suspect's Statements to Church Employee Not Privileged

Key point 2-07.3. In order for the clergy-penitent privilege to apply there must be a communication that is made to a minister.
Key point 2-08.05. In most states a counselee can waive the clergy-penitent privilege by disclosing the privileged communication to someone other than the minister. In some states the minister also may waive the privilege.

A Louisiana court ruled that inculpatory statements made by a murder suspect to a church employee were not protected from disclosure by the clergy-penitent privilege because the employee was not a minister and the privilege had been waived. A murder suspect (the "defendant") confided in a lay church employee who worked in "congregational care" that he had killed someone. The defendant gave the employee some names and telephone numbers of people, and he asked the employee to contact the people and tell them he was "not a monster" and that he did ...

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  • August 27, 2018

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