WC&B Amicus Briefs

The Roman Catholic of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and The Revernd M. Jeffrey Bayhi v. Robert D. Mayeux and Lisa M. Mayeux, On Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari To The Supreme Court Of Louisiana

Published: 10-08-14

Webster, Chamberlain & Bean, LLP filed an amicus brief in support of the petition for cert filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Supreme Court struck a blow against religious freedom, finding that priests should be subject to mandatory reporting laws regarding the abuse of minors if the person who makes confession waives confidentiality. Priests and clergy are normally exempt from mandatory reporting laws for anything heard during confession. However, the court held that confidentiality of confession is intended only to protect the person who made the confession, and not the person who receives confession. This case prevents the priest from defending himself, because under canon law, priests are forbidden to reveal anything heard in confession. Should the priest violate his vows, he faces automatic excommunication. This case involves rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and impacts churches and clergy of all religions that rely upon the inviolability of confession.