Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That Canon IV.13 be amended by adding new Sections 3 and 4 and renumbering all subsequent sections:
Sec. 3. The Hearing Panel shall make documents available to members of the Church and the Church media as set forth in this Section. The documents shall be disseminated in such a way as to make them broadly known to members of the Church and the Church media. For a matter in which a Priest or Deacon is the Respondent, dissemination shall include, at a minimum, posting to the diocesan website. For a matter in which a Bishop is the Respondent, dissemination shall include, at a minimum, posting the documents on the websites of The Episcopal Church and of the General Convention.
(a) The documents covered by this Section are all documents filed with or issued by the Hearing Panel or by any party or person including but not limited to motions, briefs, affidavits, opinions, objections, decisions, notices, challenges, and Orders.
(b) The notice under Sec. 2(a) shall be made available no later than one business day after the Respondent files a response under Sec. 2(c) or the date on which the Respondent’s response was due, whichever comes first.
(c) All other documents shall be made available no later than one business day after the document is filed by a party or other person with the Hearing Panel or issued by the Hearing Panel.
(d) Notwithstanding the above, the Hearing Panel, at its discretion and for good cause to protect any Injured Person or allegedly Injured Person, may require the redaction of documents provided for in Sec. 3(a), after consultation with the Church Attorney, the Respondent’s counsel, the Complainant’s Advisor or Complainant’s counsel, if any, and, where appropriate, the Bishop Diocesan.
Sec. 4. If at any time after a matter has been referred to a Hearing Panel an Accord is reached that ends the proceedings before the Hearing Panel issues an Order, the Bishop Diocesan shall make the Notice of Accord available to the Church and Church media as provided in Sec. 3 as well as to the Hearing Panel.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon IV.13.6 is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 6. All proceedings before the Hearing Panel except its private deliberations shall be open to the Respondent and to each Complainant, to any Injured Person, and to persons from the public. Each Complainant shall be entitled to be present throughout and observe the Hearing and each may be accompanied at the proceedings by another person of his or her own choosing in addition to his or her Advisor. Notwithstanding the above, the Hearing Panel, at its discretion and for good cause, including to protect the privacy of any person, may close any part of the proceedings to any person or group of persons, after consultation with the Church Attorney, the Respondent’s counsel and, where appropriate, the Bishop Diocesan; provided, however, that no proceedings before the Hearing Panel, except its private deliberations, shall be closed to the Respondent, Respondent’s Advisor, Respondent’s Counsel, the Complainant, the Complainant’s Advisor, Complainant’s Counsel or the Church Attorney. A record of the hearing shall be made by such means as to enable the creation of a verbatim written transcript of the hearing.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon IV.13.8 is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 8. In all proceedings of the Hearing Panel the testimony of witnesses shall be taken orally and personally or by such other means as provided by order of the Hearing Panel. All testimony shall be given under oath or solemn affirmation and be subject to cross-examination. The Hearing Panel shall determine the credibility, reliability and weight to be given to all testimony and other evidence. The proceedings shall be conducted as follows:
(a) The president shall regulate the course of the hearing so as to promote full disclosure of relevant facts.
(b) The president:
(1) may exclude evidence that is irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious;
(2) shall exclude privileged evidence;
(3) may receive documentary evidence in the form of a copy or excerpt if the copy or excerpt contains all pertinent portions of the original document;
(4) may take official notice of any facts that could be judicially noticed, including records of other proceedings
and of technical or scientific facts within the Hearing Panel’s specialized knowledge;
(5) may not exclude evidence solely because it is hearsay;
(6) shall afford to the Church Attorney and to the Respondent reasonable opportunity to present evidence, argue and respond to argument, conduct cross-examination and submit rebuttal evidence; and
(7) may, at the discretion of the Hearing Panel, give persons other than the Church Attorney and the Respondent opportunity to present oral or written statements at the hearing.
(c) Nothing in this section shall preclude the exercise of discretion by the president in taking measures appropriate to preserve the integrity of the hearing.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon IV.13.9 be hereby amended by adding new subsections (d) and (e) as follows:
(d) The requirements of Sec. 3 of this Canon shall apply to the Disciplinary Board as if it were a Hearing Panel for the purpose of an appeal of sanctions under this Section.
(e) If an Accord is reached that ends the proceedings before the Disciplinary Board issues an Order under this Section, the Bishop Diocesan shall make the Notice of Accord available to the Church and Church media as provided in Sec. 3 as well as to the Disciplinary Board and the Hearing Panel.
And be it further
Resolved, That Canon IV.14.7 is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 7. Prior to the issuance of an Order by a Conference Panel or a Hearing Panel, the issuing Panel shall afford the Bishop Diocesan, the Respondent and the Complainant each with an opportunity to be heard on the proposed terms of the Order.
These revisions are intended to clarify various elements of the process of a Hearing Panel and the means by which Hearing Panel documents are to be released and the timing for releasing such documents to affirm the transparency of Hearing Panel proceedings, including Orders and Notices of Accord. These amendments are also intended to provide for limited instances in which documents may be redacted to protect any Injured Person or allegedly Injured Person.
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