Legal Question in Criminal Law in Louisiana


A mother requested that a minister visit her son in jail for encouragement. However, during the visit the accused revealed some details to this minister. Is the minister obligated to tell the prosecuting attorney what was revealed? Even though the minister refused to reveal this information to the prosecution, can he be force by the state to testify of what he knows?

Asked on 2/24/04, 5:53 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

J.Clayton Davie, Jr. Davie & Davie, LLC

Re: Subject

Article 511 of the Louisiana Code of Evidence expressly provides that a person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another person from disclosing a confidential communication (a communication made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication) by the person to a clergyman in his professional character as spiritual adviser. The privilege may be claimed by the person or by his legal representative. The clergyman is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege on behalf of the person or deceased person. Therefore, if the disclosure was intended to be confidential and was made to the minister in his capacity as spiritual advisor, the minister's testimony would be inadmissable at trial. There may be exceptions but your limited facts do not allow me to speculate.

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Answered on 2/24/04, 6:13 pm

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