The United Pentecostal Church
Judicial Procedure
The Trial

ARTICLE IX

THE TRIAL

Section 1. Attendance.

Only the regional presiding officer, the recording secretary, the jury and alter­nates, the accused minister and his or her counselors, and the district representative and his counselors may attend the trial. A witness may attend the trial only while giv­ing his or her testimony.

Section 2. Order.

1. The regional presiding officer shall preside over the trial. He or she has the authority to maintain order, rule on questions and objections, and act on any matter that will secure a fair and impartial trial.

2. In the event the accused minister, the district representative, or any counselor becomes unruly, the regional presiding officer may sequester the jury and warn the person misbehaving that a continuation of such behavior could result in serious consequences; he or she could be dismissed from the trial and he or she could be dropped from the ministry of the United Pentecostal Church International. Being unruly includes intimidation of witnesses, presiding offi­cer, counselors, or other participants in the judicial process. (See Introduction.)

(a) If a counselor persists in being unruly, the regional presiding officer shall dismiss him or her from the trial.
(b) If the accused minister persists in being unruly, the regional presiding officer shall terminate the trial and recommend to the credentials committee that the minister be dropped.
(c) If the district representative persists in being unruly, the regional presiding officer shall dismiss him from the trial and recommend that the Executive Board take disciplinary action against the district representative. One of the District Board counselors shall then present the evidence against the accused minister.

Section 3. Records.

1. The recording secretary shall keep a written record and shall make one (1) official tape recording of all the proceedings at the trial. No other tape recording of any part of the trial proceedings is permitted.

2. All records of the trial shall be the property of the United Pentecostal Church International and held in custody during the trial by the regional presiding offi­cer, who shall make them available to the accused minister, the district representative, and their counselors, but only under his or her supervision.

3. No copies or tape recording shall be made of the court records.

4. After the final disposition of the case, the regional presiding officer together with the recording secretary shall seal the records and mail them to the General Secretary with a signed report of this action. These sealed records shall not be opened except by the approval of the Executive Board.

Section 4. Procedure.

1. The district representative and his counselors shall present the case against the minister first, including all testimony intended to prove the charge made against the accused minister. No questions can be asked or evidence presented unless such questions and evidence have a bearing upon the charge already filed in writing.

2. The accused minister shall be given time and opportunity to present his or her side of the case. Statements by the minister or his or her counselors must be confined to the alleged violation and must not include counter accusations against anyone. All testimony must be pertinent to the charges on which the minister is being tried.

3. A witness for either side may be cross-examined by the opposing side with due respect; no discourteous acts or words shall be permitted. A witness may be cross-examined as to possible collusion, conspiracy, prejudice, motive, or bias. The regional presiding officer has the right to question the witness for clarifi­cation. No member of the jury shall be permitted to question the witness.

4. Testimony of a witness not present may be read to the jury under the following conditions.

(a) The witness cannot be a signer of the complaint.
(b) The witness was unable to appear due to illness, physical disability, or extreme distance from the place of the trial, or was otherwise unable to appear.
(c) The testimony of the witness was obtained in writing, dated, and signed in the presence of an ordained minister or notary public who has no personal interest in the case and who is not an immediate relative of the accused min­ister or district representative. He or she shall sign and date the paper.
(d) The regional presiding officer is to instruct the jury to weigh the testimony in the light that the witness cannot be cross-examined in the trial.

5. The accused minister shall have the right to refuse to testify in his or her behalf on the grounds that he or she may tend to incriminate himself or herself. If he or she chooses to testify, he or she may be cross-examined. If he or she choos­es not to testify, he or she shall not voice himself or herself in any manner dur­ing the trial.

6. Opportunity for rebuttal testimony shall be granted to both sides. After both sides have made a second rebuttal, the regional presiding officer may end the rebuttals, even if one or both sides wish to continue. After rebuttals, each side shall be granted an opportunity for a closing statement, with the accused min­ister's side being last. No new evidence and no witnesses may be presented in the closing statements.

7. When both sides finish their closing statements, the regional presiding officer shall close the trial proceedings.

Section 5. Deliberation of the Jury.

1. At the close of the trial proceedings, the regional presiding officer shall give the jury a written copy of the charge.

2. The regional presiding officer shall instruct the jury on the procedure to reach a verdict. He or she shall also inform the jury that it shall reach one of the following verdicts on each charge:

(a) The accused minister is innocent of the charge.
(b) The accused minister is guilty of the charge as stated.
(c) The accused minister is guilty of a lesser violation that is not specified in the charge but is logically included in the charge by implication.

3. Only the members of the jury shall retire to themselves to consider the verdict. They shall elect a member of the jury to serve as foreperson.

4. The foreperson of the jury shall preside during the deliberations. He or she shall call for a vote at various intervals to determine if a verdict has been reached. 5. The vote shall be by secret ballot. No verdict can be reached except by a two thirds majority vote.

6. Only the regional presiding officer has the right to contact the jury, and then only regarding matters not pertaining to the case under consideration and in the presence of the accused minister and the district representative or their coun­selors.

7. The foreperson of the jury may come before the regional presiding officer and in the presence of the accused minister and the district representative or their counselors ask questions concerning the General Constitution or the judicial procedure that may not be clear in the minds of the jury. Such conferences must be limited to the purpose of clarification and must not be used to discuss any evidence or testimony.

Section 6. Verdict.

1. When the jury reaches a verdict, the foreperson shall so inform the regional presiding officer, who shall call for the announcement of the verdict.

2. The verdict must be in accordance with the instruction given to the jury by the regional presiding officer. If it is not, the regional presiding officer shall instruct the jury to resume deliberations.

3. When multiple charges are filed, the jury shall render a verdict on each charge.

4. The regional presiding officer shall present a written copy of the verdict signed by the jury foreperson to the accused minister and the district representative by official notice.

5. If the accused minister is found innocent, the verdict shall be final. He or she shall not be tried a second time on the same charge.

6. If the accused minister is found guilty of immoral conduct as defined by the General Constitution, Article VII, Section 9, Paragraph 1, the regional presid­ing officer shall recommend to the credentials committee that the minister be dropped from the ministry of the United Pentecostal Church International.

7. If the accused minister is found guilty of any charge other than immoral conduct as defined by the General Constitution, Article VII, Section 9, Paragraph 1, the jury shall determine the sentence by taking one or more of the following actions.

(a) Warn and advise the minister.
(b) Take appropriate disciplinary action, which may include a rehabilitation program administered by the District Board.
(c) Place the minister on probation to be administered by the District Board. Any minister placed on probation shall submit his or her fellowship card to the District Superintendent for the duration of the probation. He or she shall support the district and pay his or her budget fees. He or she shall not be permitted to preach or to transfer his or her membership to another district. He or she may be required to participate in a rehabilitation program admin­istered by the District Board.
(d) If the accused is found guilty only of a lesser charge than filed against him or her by the District Board, the jury must select one of the sentences in this paragraph, items a, b, and c, for that charge.
(e) Recommend to the credentials committee that the minister be dropped from the ministry of the United Pentecostal Church International.

8. A minister who is found guilty may appeal the verdict and/or sentence to the ministers appeal council in accordance with Article X, Sections 4 and 5.

9. In the event the jury cannot reach a verdict, the regional presiding officer shall declare a mistrial. He or she shall then set the place, date, and time for a new trial, and follow the provisions of Articles VII, VIII, and IX of this judicial pro­cedure. No member of the jury or alternate in the first trial shall serve in the second trial.

The above is part of the judicial procedure of the United Pentecostal Church International and is provided for informational purposes.


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