Difference between church trials and secular
trials in the U.S.A.
The following chart helps to show some differences between a church and civil court processes. From a United Methodist magazine, The Interpreter, October 2004, p. 23
If for a bishop, clergyperson or diaconal minister, then it is a clergyperson in full connection.
If for a layperson, then clergyperson or lay member of the church
Trial Court of 13
Jury of 12
Requires at least 9 of 13 votes
Requires unanimous decision
Respondent may appeal to Committee on Appeals;
church may not appeal
Defendant may appeal to a higher court;
state may not appeal
Open or Closed?
Closed unless the counsel for the respondent requests that it be open
U.S. Supreme Court