Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statutes: Tennessee

Confidential Clergy Communications Statutes

Tennessee Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statute

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 24. Evidence and Witnesses.

Chapter 1. Witnesses and Privileged Communications.

Part 2. Privileged Communications.§ 24-1-206. Privileges and immunities; clergy.(a)(1) No minister of the gospel, priest of the Catholic Church, rector of the Episcopal Church, ordained rabbi, or regular minister of religion of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church, over eighteen (18) years of age, shall be allowed or required in giving testimony as a witness in any litigation, to disclose any information communicated to that person in a confidential manner, properly entrusted to that person in that person’s professional capacity, and necessary to enable that person to discharge the functions of such office according to the usual course of that person’s practice or discipline, wherein such person so communicating such information about such person or another is seeking spiritual counsel and advice relative to and growing out of the information so imparted.

(2) It shall be the duty of the judge of the court wherein such litigation is pending, when such testimony as prohibited in this section is offered, to determine whether or not that person possesses the qualifications which prohibit that person from testifying to the communications sought to be proven by that person.

(b) The prohibition of this section shall not apply to cases where the communicating party, or parties, waives the right so conferred by personal appearance in open court so declaring, or by an affidavit properly sworn to by such a one or ones, before some person authorized to administer oaths, and filed with the court wherein litigation is pending.

(c) Nothing in this section shall modify or in any way change the law relative to “hearsay testimony.”

(d) Any minister of the gospel, priest of the Catholic Church, rector of the Episcopal Church, ordained rabbi, and any regular minister of religion of any religious organization or denomination usually referred to as a church, who violates the provisions of this section, commits a Class C misdemeanor.