Petition 80027

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Transparency of Church Trials (80027-JA-¶2708.12)

Amend ¶2708.12 of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2004 as follows:
2708. General Organization and Pre-Trial Procedures-
12. Open or Closed Trials-The deliberations of the trial court shall be closed. All other sessions of the trial shall be closed open, except upon written request to the presiding officer by counsel for the respondent or the counsel for the Church, the trial shall be open closed.  Also, if the presiding officer determines the trial may be closed, the trial may be opened by the presiding officer, upon written request of either the counsel for the Church or the counsel for the person charged, to family of the person charged, or family of the person making the original complaint, and/or to other personally significant people...

Rationale

The petition changes the presumption that church trials should be open rather than closed thus giving greater transparency to the church trial process. The changes still give discretion to the presiding officer for closing the trial at the request of either party or as the presiding officer determines as well...