Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Calif. Enacts Law Barring Release of Murdered Children's Med Rex & Autopsy Reports

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking at the lighting...Image via Wikipedia
Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law S.B. 5, the Deceased Child Victims' Protection & Privacy Act, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth (R-San Diego), which enables legal guardians of murdered children to prevent the release of autopsy reports and medical records of the young victims, the Web site of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reports.

Parents of murdered children can deprive the general public and the news media of access to the victims' autopsy reports and medical records. Although current law characterized autopsy reports as investigatory records exempt from disclosure under California's Public Records Act (Govt. Code Secs. 6250-6276.48), coroners and other records custodians could make such records public at their discretion.

At first glance, the measure seems a legitimate attempt to preserve the privacy of tragic minor victims and discourage morbid curiosity at the expense of the loved ones of murdered children.  Still, "TUOL" shares the concern of critics of a statute that sets the precedent of allowing non-elected individuals to regulate public access to governmental records. Moreover, child autopsy reports are a treasure trove of information and could, for example, reveal evidence of child abuse that otherwise might go undetected.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment