The right to a fair and impartial hearing of charges pending against an accused minister or layperson shall not be denied or unduly postponed. Written charges shall be given an early hearing in order that the innocent may be absolved and the guilty brought to discipline. Every accused is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. As to each charge and specification, the prosecution shall have the burden of proving guilt to a moral certainty and beyond a reasonable doubt.
Section: Guaranty of Rights
The cost of preparing the record of a case for a minister, including a verbatim transcript of all testimony given at the trial, for the purpose of an appeal to the General Court of Appeals, shall be borne by the district where the hearing was held and disciplinary action taken. Every minister who appeals shall have the right to present oral as well as written argument upon his or her appeal, but this right may be waived in writing by the accused.
The cost of preparing the record of a case for a layperson, including a verbatim transcript of all testimony given at the trial, for the purpose of an appeal to the District Court of Appeals, shall be borne by the local church of the district where the hearing was held and disciplinary action taken. Every layperson who appeals shall have the right to present oral as well as written argument upon his or her appeal, but this right may be waived in writing by the accused.
The highest court for a minister to appeal is the General Court of Appeals, and the highest court for a layperson to appeal is the District Court of Appeals.
The testimony of any witness before a Board of Discipline shall not be received or considered in evidence unless such testimony be given under oath or solemn affirmation.
A minister or layperson who is brought before a Board of Discipline to answer charges shall always have the right to be represented by counsel of his or her own choosing, provided such counsel be a member in good standing in the Church of the Nazarene. Any full member of a regularly organized church against whom no written charges are pending will be considered in good standing.
A minister or layperson shall not be required to answer charges for any act that occurred more than five years before the filing of such charges, and no evidence will be considered at any hearing for any matter that occurred more than five years before the charges were filed. Provided, however, that if the person aggrieved by any such act was under the age of 18 or found to be mentally incompetent of making an accusation or filing a charge, such five-year limitation periods would not begin to run until the aggrieved person reached age 18 or became mentally competent. In the case of the sexual abuse of a minor, no time limit shall apply. A minor is defined as any human being under the age of 18, unless the age of majority is attained later under a state’s or country’s own domestic legislation.
If a minister is convicted of a felony by a court of competent jurisdiction, he or she shall surrender his or her credential to the district superintendent. At the request of such minister, and if the Board of Discipline has not previously been involved, the District Advisory Board shall investigate the circumstances of the conviction and may restore the credential if it deems appropriate.
A minister or layperson shall not be twice placed in jeopardy for the same offense. It shall not be considered, however, that such person was placed in jeopardy at any hearing or proceeding where the court of appeals discovers reversible error committed in the original proceeding before a Board of Discipline.