2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 905. Evidence — privileges.
905.06 Communications to members of the clergy.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 905.06 (2017)

905.06 Communications to members of the clergy.

(1)Definitions. As used in this section:

(a) A “member of the clergy" is a minister, priest, rabbi, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting the individual.

(b) A communication is “confidential" if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.

(2)General rule of privilege. A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a member of the clergy in the member's professional character as a spiritual adviser.

(3)Who may claim the privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the person, by the person's guardian or conservator, or by the person's personal representative if the person is deceased. The member of the clergy may claim the privilege on behalf of the person. The member of the clergy's authority so to do is presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

(4)Exceptions. There is no privilege under this section concerning observations or information that a member of the clergy, as defined in s. 48.981 (1) (cx), is required to report as suspected or threatened child abuse under s. 48.981 (2) (bm).

History: Sup. Ct. Order, 59 Wis. 2d R1, R135 (1973); 1991 a. 32; 2003 a. 279; 2005 a. 253.

An out-of-court disclosure by a priest that the defendant would lead police to the victim's grave was not privileged under this section. State v. Kunkel, 137 Wis. 2d 172, 404 N.W.2d 69 (Ct. App. 1987).

Should Clergy Hold the Priest-Penitent Privilege? Mazza. 82 MLR 171 (1998).

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Wisconsin may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.