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Decision No. 872

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October 28 1999
In Re: Request From the Minnesota Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision on the Constitutionality of Par. 2628.1(j).

Digest of Case

Par. 2628.1(j) is ruled to be unconstitutional as it grants to a bishop and an annual conference of the Church powers and authorities which are reserved to other organizational bodies and divisions in the Constitution.

Statement of Facts

At the 1999 session of the Minnesota Annual Conference the conference voted to request from the Judicial Council a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality of ¶ 2628.1(j) of the 1996 Discipline. Jurisdiction The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2616 of the 1996 Discipline Analysis and Rationale The Constitution of The United Methodist Church provides for distinct organizational divisions with specific authorities and responsibilities for each. Par. 2628.1(j) states: Errors or defects in judicial proceedings shall be duly considered when present on appeal. (1) In regard to cases where there is an investigation under ¶ 2626, but no trial is held as a result thereof, errors of Church law or administration committed by those in charge of the investigation are to be corrected by the presiding officer of the next conference on request in open session, and in such event the conference may also order just and suitable remedies if injury resulted from such errors. (2) Errors of Church law or defects in judicial proceedings that are discovered on appeal are to be corrected by the presiding officer of the next conference upon request in open session, and in such event the conference may also order just and suitable remedies if injury has resulted from such errors. This paragraph grants to a bishop and an annual conference powers and authority which are reserved to other organizational bodies and divisions in the Constitution. For the foregoing reasons ¶ 2628.1(j) is determined to be unconstitutional and is ruled to be so.

Decision

Par. 2628.1(j) is ruled to be unconstitutional as it grants to a bishop and an annual conference of the Church powers and authorities which are reserved to other organizational bodies and divisions in the Constitution.

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