Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statutes: California

Confidential Clergy Communications Statutes

California Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statute


Division 8. Privileges.

Chapter 3. General Provisions Relating to Privileges.

  • 917. Presumption that certain communications are confidential; privileged character of electronic communications.(a) Whenever a privilege is claimed on the ground that the matter sought to be disclosed is a communication made in confidence in the course of the lawyer-client, physician-patient, psychotherapist-patient, clergy-penitent, husband-wife, sexual assault victim-counselor, or domestic violence victim-counselor relationship, the communication is presumed to have been made in confidence and the opponent of the claim of privilege has the burden of proof to establish that the communication was not confidential.

(b) A communication between persons in a relationship listed in subdivision (a) does not lose its privileged character for the sole reason that it is communicated by electronic means or because persons involved in the delivery, facilitation, or storage of electronic communication may have access to the content of the communication.

(c) For purposes of this section, “electronic” has the same meaning provided in Section 1633.2 of the Civil Code.

Chapter 4. Particular Privileges.

Article 8. Clergy Penitent Privileges.

  • 1030. Member of the clergy.As used in this article, a “member of the clergy” means a priest, minister, religious practitioner, or similar functionary of a church or of a religious denomination or religious organization.
  • 1031. Penitent.As used in this article, “penitent” means a person who has made a penitential communication to a member of the clergy.
  • 1032. Penitential communication.As used in this article, “penitential communication” means a communication made in confidence, in the presence of no third person so far as the penitent is aware, to a member of the clergy who, in the course of the discipline or practice of the clergy member’s church, denomination, or organization, is authorized or accustomed to hear those communications and, under the discipline or tenets of his or her church, denomination, or organization, has a duty to keep those communications secret.§ 1033. Privilege of penitent.Subject to Section 912, a penitent, whether or not a party, has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a penitential communication if he or she claims the privilege.
  • 1034. Privilege of clergy.Subject to Section 912, a member of the clergy, whether or not a party, has a privilege to refuse to disclose a penitential communication if he or she claims the privilege.