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Pastor’s Conversation with the Defendant Allowed in Murder Case

The trial court did not abuse its discretion by letting the pastor testify.

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.

An Indiana appeals court affirmed a trial court’s conviction of a defendant for the murder of his wife; the appeals court rejected the defendant’s claim that his conviction had to be reversed because the trial court permitted a pastor to testify regarding an incriminating statement the defendant had made to him.

No reason to believe “the defendant expected any confidentiality”

Following a jury trial, a defendant was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to a prison term of 75 years. The jury rejected the defendant’s claim that he shot his wife in self-defense because she was attacking him with a large kitchen knife.

The court allowed the defendant’s pastor to testify ...

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