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Trial Convening and Organization


¶ 2709. Trial Convening and Organization

1. Convening of the Trial-The convenor shall notify the respondent in writing to appear at a fixed time and place no less than twenty days after service of such notice and within a reasonable time thereafter for selection of the members of the trial court.

2. Trial Pool-At the appointed time, in the presence of the respondent, counsel for the respondent, counsel for the Church, and the presiding officer, thirteen persons shall be selected as a trial court out of a pool of thirty-five or more persons selected according to

¶¶ 2712.3, 2713.3, and 2714.3. Special consideration should be given so that the pool includes persons representative of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.

3. Selection of the Trial Court-No person shall serve as a member of the trial court who was a member of the cabinet, Board of Ordained Ministry, or committee on investigation who considered the case in the process of coming to trial court. The counsel for the Church and the respondent shall each have up to four peremptory challenges and challenges for cause without limit. If by reason of challenges for cause being sustained the number is reduced to below thirteen, additional appropriate persons shall be nominated in like manner as was the original panel to take the places of the numbers challenged, who likewise shall be subject to challenge for cause. This method of procedure shall be followed until a trial court of thirteen members and two alternate members has been selected.

4. Alternates-The two alternate members shall sit as observers of the trial. They shall replace members of the trial court who are not able to continue to serve, so that the trial court shall always consist of thirteen members, unless the respondent and counsel for the Church agree to a lesser number.

5. Trial Court Questions-The members of the trial court, including the alternate members, may, subject to the approval of the presiding officer of the court, ask questions on matters on which evidence has been presented.

From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.