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Decision No. 144

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February 07 1958
In Re: Appeal of J. R. Parker

Digest of Case

When an appellant fails to comply with the provision of Par. 1025 of the 1956 Discipline which requires that a written statement of the grounds of appeal be furnished at the same time notice of appeal is given, the appeal must he dismisse

Statement of Facts

J. R. Parker, a member of the Kentucky Annual Conference, was found guilty on a charge of "unministerial conduct" at a trial held in the Centenary Methodist Church, Lexington, Kentucky, on October 25th and 26th, with Bishop William T. Watkins presiding. The penalty fixed by the trial court was three years suspension followed by an appearance before the Conference Committee on Conference Relations. The case was appealed and heard by the Court of Appeals of the Southeastern Jurisdiction at the Wesley Memorial Building in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 19, 1957. The Court of Appeals upheld the verdict in the case of J. R. Parker but reduced the penalty of suspension from three years to one year ending with the opening of the 1957 session of the Kentucky Annual Conference. Russell R. Patton and John L. Tilton, counsel for the defense, sent the following letter, dated Mark 16, 1957, to Dr. Albert S. Trulock, President and Dr. Brunner M. Hunt, Secretary of the Court of Appeals of the Southeastern Jurisdiction- "Dear Brethren: "This is to inform you of our intent to carry this case to the Judicial Council. Transcript from your court reached us on Thursday, March 21st. A few days will be required for the preparation of our brief. But in keeping with the 30 day notice we present this declaration. . . ." On August 17th, approximately five months later, counsel for the appellant sent out to all parties concerned a Brief which contained the grounds for this appeal. JURISDICTION Under Paragraph 1045 of the 1956 Discipline the Judicial Council has the authority to hear and determine this appeal. ANALYSIS Paragraph 1025 of the 1956 Discipline reads as follows- "In all cases of appeal the appellant shall within thirty days give notice of appeal and at the same time shall furnish to the officer receiving such notice, and to the counsel for the church, a written statement of the grounds of his appeal, and the hearing in the appellate court shall be limited to the grounds set forth in such statement." In Decision No. 3 of the Judicial Council is his statement- "Paragraph 897, Section 11, of the 1936 Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church provides that in all cases of appeal the Appellant shall furnish a written statement of the grounds of his appeal, and the hearing in the Appellate Court shall be limited to the grounds set forth in such statement. The Appellant did not comply with any of the requirements of this section. He merely 'appealed.' This may seem technical, but judicial procedures as set forth in the Discipline is necessarily technical and must be complied with in order to protect both the interests of the parties involved, and the Church. "The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1936 adopted a report of the Judiciary Committee (Report No. 9, Appeal of A. H. Magee, found on page 459 of the General Conference Journal of 1936), in which an appeal was dismissed because the Appellant failed to furnish a written statement of the grounds of his appeal." Such a written statement of the grounds of appeal was not provided by the Appellant in this case, either to the President or Secretary of the Court of Appeals to whom the notice of appeal was sent, or to Dr. G. R. Tomlin, counsel for the church, until approximately five months after the notice of appeal.

Decision

It is the decision of the Judicial Council that because of the failure of the Appellant, J. R. Parker, to comply with the clear provisions of Paragraph 1025 of the 1956 Discipline this appeal must be and hereby is dismissed.

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