Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statutes: Vermont

Confidential Clergy Communications Statutes

Vermont Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statute


TITLE 12. Court Procedure. Part 4. Evidence.Chapter 61. Witnesses.Subchapter 1. Qualifications, Privileges, and Credibility.§ 1607. Priests and ministers.A priest or minister of the gospel shall not be permitted to testify in court to statements made to him by a person under the sanctity of a religious confessional.

RULES OF EVIDENCE. V. PRIVILEGES.Rule 505. Religious Privilege.(a) Definitions. As used in this rule:            (1) “Member of the clergy” means a priest, rabbi, clergy member, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, accredited Christian Science practitioner, person performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body that are recognized as the duties of a priest, rabbi, clergy, nun, brother, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, or accredited Christian Science practitioner.

(2) A communication is “confidential” if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.

(b) General rule of privilege. A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a member of the clergy in his or her professional character as spiritual adviser.(c) Who may claim the privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the communicant, by his or her guardian or conservator, or by his or her personal representative if such person is deceased. The person who was the member of the clergy at the time of the communication is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege, but only on behalf of the communicant.