Judge holds that confession in front of an Alcoholics Anonymous g
roup is shielded by clergy-penitent privilege
VOLOKH at MAIL.LAW.UCLA.EDU
Thu Aug 2 12:51:19 PDT 2001
Seems like a rather broad reading of the clergy-penitent
privilege -- though I'm not sure whether it's too broad -- but more
importantly, where are the grounds for federal habeas here? Is the theory
that the clergy-penitent privilege is commanded by the Free Exercise Clause
and that a denial of the privilege therefore renders the conviction
unconstitutional? If anyone has a URL or a WESTLAW/LEXIS pointer to the
decision, I'd love to see it.
August 2, 2001 -- A federal judge yesterday
the double-homicide conviction of a man sent to
jail on the
word of fellow Alcoholics Anonymous members, saying
testimony should have never been admissible. . . .
Paul Cox . . . has served seven years since a jury
convicted him of manslaughter in the grisly slaying
husband-and-wife doctors as they slept in their
Brieant ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous has to be
considered a religious institution based on
rulings - and that its meetings must enjoy the same
protections as sessions between priests and their
"Clearly, it is possible as a matter of
constitutional law to
have and to practice a religion without having a
as such," Brieant wrote, "or where all members
office of clergyman to the extent of receiving
confessions." . . .
The case had remained unsolved for four years,
until an AA
member told cops that Cox talked in sessions about
dreams and memories of killing the doctors in a
stupor in the home where Cox, as it turned out, had
as a child.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Religionlaw