Discipline ¶2714

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  ¶  2714. Trial of Lay Member of a Local Church
1. The district superintendent of the person charged shall proceed to convene the court under the provisions of ¶ 2709.
2. The district superintendent may be the presiding officer or may designate another clergyperson in full connection to preside.
3. The trial shall be convened as provided in ¶ 2709, with the pool of thirty-five or more persons to consist of professing members of local churches other than the local church of the charged layperson within the same district. Appointments to the pool shall be made by the district superintendent, who may consult with the district lay leader. Special consideration should be given so that the pool includes persons representative of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.
4. Counsel for the Church shall be a professing member or clergyperson of The United Methodist Church.
5. The person charged may request a change of venue. This shall be a written request to the officers of the court within ten days of receipt of notice to appear for trial. The presiding officer shall rule upon the request after hearing argument for the defense and the Church. If the motion is approved, the presiding officer shall name another district wherein the trial shall be held and shall notify the district superintendent, who shall convene the court. The thirty-five-member pool shall consist of professing members from that district. The cost of prosecution shall be borne by the annual conference.
6. If the trial court finds that the charges are proven by clear and convincing evidence, then it may impose such penalties as it may determine, including that the professing membership of the charged layperson in The United Methodist Church be terminated; provided that the trial court shall first consider other remedies that would fulfill the provisions of ¶ 221.
7. The appropriate officer of the trial shall, at the conclusion of the proceeding, deposit all trial documents with the secretary of the charge conference. If an appeal is taken, the secretary shall deliver all documents to the district superintendent. After the appeal has been heard, the records shall be returned to the custody of the secretary of the charge conference.