NCVLI Joins Sexual Assault Victim to Fight for Her Right to Privacy
December 08, 2011
In Alaska, a trial court granted a defendant’s pretrial discovery motion in a sexual assault case and ordered the victim to disclose sensitive, confidential, and privileged health care information for in camera review and possible further disclosure to the defendant. This included information related to possible mental health and substance abuse treatment.
The victim, represented by the Alaska Office of Victims’ Rights, appealed and NCVLI submitted an amicus brief in support of that appeal. We argued that the trial court’s order violates the victim’s constitutional rights to privacy and to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. We urged the appellate court to conclude that no compelling interest exists to justify the intrusion into the victim’s constitutional rights when defendant has no established constitutional right to pretrial discovery under state or federal law. We also noted for the court that not only would disclosure violate the victim’s privacy rights, but it may have a chilling effect on this and future victims’ access to health care and to the courts.
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