psychiatric records: limited confidentiality in criminal cases?
| Julie Hilden
makes an interesting case about whether or not, in some cases, a person's psychiatric records ought to be revealed to a Court in a criminal case | The case in question is the Kobe Bryant rape charge
| Ms. Hilden notes
under current law, for patients to invoke this privilege, they have to respect it themselves. Otherwise, courts can hold that they have "waived" the privilege, or "opened the door" to the relevant evidence being introduced.
For example, suppose a patient begins to testify on the stand about what she says were the symptoms of her psychiatric condition. She then "opens the door" to being cross-examined on the same issue -- and the other side may now also be able now to seek documents that previously would have been covered by the physician-patient privilege. .
Similarly, suppose a patient brings a lawsuit that puts her psychiatric condition directly at issue. For instance, suppose she brings a libel suit challenging reports that her career has been hurt by the fact she has bipolar disorder - then she has to provide documents (even privileged ones) that are relevant to her claim. In that event, she has waived her right to assert the privilege simply by bringing the lawsuit.
Finally, the patient can also waive the privilege by simply giving her consent to the release of the relevant information.
Throughout the article, Ms. Hilden's rationale and focus remains narrowly defined, as it should be, with the primary question asked being one that would, if such protected information gets entered into criminal court proceedings, be used purly to establish that an innocent person would be wrongly convicted if such evidence were not accessible |
That sounds like a worth reason to allow for admission of such information | I know that this particular Pandora's Box should be opened with extreme caution, so weighing the pros and cons long beforehand, is warranted | Any thoughts on this one readers?