« PreviousContinue »
19. When a judicatory enters on the consideration of an alleged offence, the charge and specifications, which shall be in writing, shall be read; and nothing more shall be done at that meeting, unless by consent of parties, than to furnish the accused with a copy of the charge and specifications, together with the names of all the witnesses then known to support each specification; and to cite all concerned to appear at a subsequent meeting of the judicatory, to be held not less than ten days after the service of the citations. The citations shall be signed, in the name of the judicatory, by the Moderator, or Clerk; who shall, also, furnish citations for such witnesses as either party shall name. The accused shall not be required to disclose the names of his witnesses.
20. Citations shall be served personally, unless the person to be cited cannot be found, in which case the citation shall be sent to his last known place of residence; and, before proceeding to trial, it must appear that the citations have been served.
21. If an accused person refuses to obey a citation, a second citation shall issue, accompanied by a notice that, if he do not appear at the time appointed, unless providentially hindered, he will be censured for his contumacy, according to the subsequent provisions of the Book of Discipline. (See Sections 33, 38 and 46.) If he does not then appear, the judicatory may proceed to trial and judyment in his absence; in which case it shall appoint some person to represent him as counsel. The time allowed for his appearance, on any citation subsequent to the first, shall be determined by the judicatory, with proper regard for all the circumstances. The same rule, as to the time allowed for appearance, shall apply to all witnesses cited at the request of either party.
22. At the meeting at which the citations are returnable, the accused shall appear, or, if unable to be present, may appear by counsel. He may file objections to the regularity of the organization, or to the jurisdiction of the judicatory or to the sufliciency of the charges and spe. cifications in form or in legal effect, or any other substantial objection affecting the order or regularity of the proceeding, on which objections the parties shall be heard The judicatory upon the filing of such objections shall, or on its own motion may, determine all such preliminary objections, and may dismiss the case, or permit, in the furtherance of justice, amendments to the specifications or charges not changing the general nature of the same. If the proceedings be found in order, and the charges and specifications be considered sufficient to put the accused on his defence, he shall plead "guilty,” or “not guilty," to the same, which shall be entered on the record. If the plea be" guilty," the judicatory shall proceed to judgment; but if the plea be “not guilty,” or if the accused decline to answer, a plea of “not guilty” shall be entered of record and the trial proceed.
23. The witnesses shall be examined, and, if desired, cross-examined, and any other competent evidence introduced, at meeting of which the accused shall be properly notified; after which nerv witnesses and other evidence, in rebuttal only, may be introduced by either party. But evidence, discovered during the progress of the trial, may be admitted, in behalf of either party, under such regulations, as to notice of the names of witnesses and the nature of the proof, as the judicatory shall deem reasonable and proper; and then the parties themselves shall be heard. The judicatory shall then go into private session—the parties, their counsel, and all other persons not members of the body, being excluded; when, after careful deliberation, the judicatory shall proceed to vote on each specification and on each charge separately, and judgment shall be entered accordingly.
24. The charge and specifications, the plea, and the judgment, shall be entered on the minutes of the judicatory. The minutes shall also exhibit all the acts and orders of the judicatory relating to the case, with the reasons therefor, together with the notice of appeal, and the reasons therefor, if any shall have been filed; all
which, together with the evidence in the case duly filed and authenticated by the Clerk of the judicatory, shall constitute the record of the case; and, in case of a removal thercof by appeal, the lower judicatory shall transmit the record to the higher. Nothing which is not contained in the record shall be taken into consideration in the higher judicatory.
25. Exceptions may be taken by either of the original par. ties in a trial, to any part of the proceedings, except in the judicatory of last resort, and shall be entered on the record.
26. Each of the parties in a judicial case shall be entitled to appear and be represented by counsel, and to be heard by oral or written argument. No person shall be eligible as counsel who is not a minister or ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and no person having acted as counsel in a judicial case shall sit as a judge therein. The counsel of the prosecutor in a judicial case where prosecution is initiated by a judicatory, shall be the prosecuting committee authorized to be appointed by section eleven of this book, and such other persons as may be appointed under the provisions of said section to assist the prosecuting committee. shall accept any fee or other emolument for any service rendered as counsel.
27. Questions as to order or evidence, arising in the course of a trial, shall, after the parties have had an opportunity to be heard, be decided by the Moderator, subject to appeal; and the question on the appeal shall be determined without debate. All such decisions, if desired by either party, shall be entered upon the record of the case.
28. No member of a judicatory who has not been present during the whole of a trial, shall be allowed to vote on any question arising therein, except by unanimous consent of the judicatory and of the parties; and, when a trial is in progress, except in an appellate judicatory, the roll shall be called after each recess and adjournment, and the names of the absentees shall be noted.
29. The parties shall be allowed copies of the record at their own expense; and, on the final disposition of a case in a higher judicatory, the record of the case, with the judgment, shall be transmitted to the judicatory in which the case originated.
30. In the infliction and removal of church censures, judicatories shall observe the modes prescribed in Chapter XI. of the Directory for Worship.
31. In all cases of judicial process, the judicatory may, at any stage of the case, determiue, by a vote of two thirds, to sit with closed doors.
32. A judicatory may, if the edification of the Church demands it, require an accused person to refrain from approaching the Lord's Table, or from the exercise of office, or both, until final action in the case shall be taken; provided, that in all cases a speedy investigation or trial shall be bad.
SPECIAL RULES PERTAINING TO CASES BEFORE SESSIONS.
33. WHEN an accused person has been twice duly cited, and refuses to appear, by himself or counsel, before a session, or, appearing, refuses to answer the charge brought against him, he shall be suspended, by act of session, from the communion of the Church, and shall so remain until he repents of his contumacy, and submits himself to the orders of the judicatory.
34. The censures to be inflicted by the session are Admonition, Rebuke, Suspension or Deposition from office, Suspension from the communion of the Church, and, in the case of offenders who will not be reclaimed by milder measures, Excommunication.
35. The sentence shall be published, if at all, only in the church or churches which have been offended.
GENERAL RULES PERTAINING TO THE TRIAL OF A MIN 18
TER, ELDER, OR DEACON.
36. As the honor and success of the gospel depend, in a great measure, on the character of its ministers, each presbytery ought, with the greatest care and impartiality, to watch over their personal and professional conduct, But as, on the one hand, no minister ought, on account of his office, to be screened from the hand of justice, or his offences to be slightly censured, so neither ought charges to be received against him on slight grounds.
37. If a minister be accused of an offence, at such a distance from his usual place of residence as that it is not likely to become otherwise known to his presbytery, it shall be the duty of the presbytery within whose bounds the offence is alleged to have been committed, if it shall be satisfied that there is prob:ble ground for the accusation, to notify his presbytery thereof, and of the nature of the offence; and his presbytery, on receiving such notice, shall, if it appears that the honor of religion requires it, proceed to the trial of the case.
38. If a minister accused of an offence refuses to appear by himself or counsel, after being twice duly cited, he shall, for his contumacy, be suspended from his office; and if, after another citation, he refuses to appear by himself or counsel, he shall be suspended from the communion of the Church.
39. If a judicatory so decides, a member shall not be allowed, while charges are pending against him, to delib. erate or vote on any question.
40. If the accused be found guilty, he shall be admonished, rebuked, suspended or deposed from office (with or without suspension from church privileges, in either case), or excommunicated. A minister suspended from office may, at the expiration of one year, unless he gives satisfactory evidence of repentance, be deposed without further trial.