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.
A Michigan appeals court ruled that a trial court did not err in allowing a pastor to testify concerning a criminal defendant’s confession.
The defendant communicated with his pastor “as a friend”
A young girl was repeatedly sexually molested by her stepfather (the “defendant”) beginning when she was 7 years old. The jury found the defendant guilty, and trial court sentenced the defendant to “three concurrent sentences of 25 to 50 years’ imprisonment,” according to the disposition of the court.
The defendant appealed, arguing that his pastor should not have been allowed to disclose a confession he had made to him. The pastor testified that the defendant admitted ...