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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Defending Victims’ Rights to Privacy

August 17, 2020

Last month NCVLI, along with co-amici Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, submitted a brief in People v. Gomez-Ramirez in support of a petition before the Appellate Court of Illinois to protect a crime victim’s privacy.

In the trial court, the State issued a subpoena for the victim’s privileged hospital records without a warrant and without providing the victim notice and opportunity to be heard. The hospital moved to quash the subpoena. The trial court denied the hospital’s motion.

In the appellate court, Amici argued that the subpoena, as well as the court order compelling the hospital to comply with the subpoena, violated the victim’s state and federal constitutional rights, including her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure. Amici noted that individuals do not lose their rights merely because they are victims/witnesses rather than the accused in a criminal action. Amici urged the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s unconstitutional order compelling production of the victim’s privileged records.

We will keep you posted on the outcome!