Monday, July 16, 2012

Bad FOI Karma - S.C. autopsy reports ruled off-limits

Guess it's back to the S.C. Legislature to try to clarify that autopsy reports should be public record.

A South Carolina judge has ruled they are medical records exempt from the FOIA. (Ruling - PDF)

Interesting in reading the ruling is that there apparently was a long-ago ruling by another judge on the same point, one that was never challenged. Thus, the argument that legislators, by putting in specific wording exempting autopsy photos and recordings, implied the reports should be open ran aground on the legal presumption that they were aware of the earlier court ruling and did not elect to change it.

I don't know whether The (Sumter) Item will choose to appeal with the help of the SC Press Association. This is one of those cases that could fall under "bad cases make bad law."

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