Decision Number 47


April 23, 1947

Appeal of Edwin L. Morgan From Judgment of Committee on Appeals, Southeastern Jurisdiction


A minister tried in the year 1941, in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Discipline, and the judgment of the trial court affirmed by the Jurisdictional Committee of Appeals in 1942, which judgment became final under the provisions of the Discipline, may not appeal to the Judicial Council to review the case for alleged errors of law under the provisions of Paragraphs 1033 and 1045, Discipline 1944, which legislation was enacted in 1944 to cover cases decided after said Paragraph became effective; and therefore such an attempted appeal was dismissed.

Statement of Facts

History of the Case

Edwin L. Morgan, then a member of the Memphis Conference, was brought to trial in October, 1941, according to the procedure prescribed by the 1940 Discipline. The trial was presided over by the late Bishop J. L. Decell. The charge was immoral conduct on specifications alleging issuance and cashing of a number of worthless checks.

At the conclusion of the trial, the defendant was found guilty as charged and the penalty fixed was deposition from the ministry. The verdict of the Trial Committee was unanimous.

An appeal was then taken to the Committee on Appeals of the Southeastern Jurisdiction, under the provisions of Paragraphs 694-97, Discipline, 1940. This appeal was heard on April 13, 1942, and the judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

No further action was taken by the Appellant until March, 1947, when the transcript of the record of the trial before the Conference Trial Court was filed with the Secretary of the Judicial Council and exceptions thereto filed by Counsel for the Appellant.

It is to be particularly noted that the Defendant was tried and found guilty in the year 1941, and that the decision of the Jurisdictional Committee of Appeals was rendered in the year 1942. The Discipline of 1940, Paragraph 694, provided that decisions of Jurisdictional Committees on Appeals should be final, and no right of appeal to the Judicial Council then existed, except in cases of conflict of decisions between two Jurisdictions.

In 1944, the General Conference enacted new legislation, and provided for an appeal as to matters of law in cases of this character from the Jurisdictional Court of Appeals (see Paragraphs 1033 and 1045, Discipline 1944) ; provided the procedural steps therein set forth be complied with by the appellant. As there was no right of appeal when the Committee of Appeals affirmed the Judgment of the Trial Committee in this case, and it became final, the subsequent enactment of laws allowing such appeals afforded this defendant no right to appeal the decision rendered in 1942. Laws are always to be regarded as prospective in their operation, and never retroactive unless they are clearly and explicitly made retroactive by the terms of the act.

The appellate features of Paragraphs 1033 and 1045 are all prospective and provide for appeals in cases decided after said paragraphs became effective.


It is apparent that we have no jurisdiction of this attempted appeal, and we are under the necessity of dismissing the appeal.

It is accordingly dismissed.

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