Over the transom comes the petition in Perez v. Colorado at the Supreme Court.
Whether, and to what extent, the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee a criminal defendant the right to discover potentially exculpatory mental health records held by a private party, notwithstanding a state privilege law to the contrary.
The petition begins with,
When a criminal defendant seeks potentially exculpatory information that is protected by the psychotherapist-patient privilege, a court must decide which prevails: the defendant’s interest in accessing that material, or the government’s policy interest embodied in the privilege. Both sides of the ledger are important: On the defendant’s side, his constitutional rights to due process, compulsory process, and confrontation may all be compromised if he is denied access to the information. On the government’s side,
disclosing otherwise privileged information could compromise important public objectives, including
“the provision of appropriate treatment for individuals suffering the effects of a mental or emotional problem.” Jaffee v. Redmond, 518 U.S. 1, 11 (1996). Where the evidence is in the hands of the State
and the privilege law at issue does not “absolute[ly] . . . shield [the] files from all eyes,” this Court has held
that a criminal defendant’s constitutional right to due process trumps a privilege. Pennsylvania v. Ritchie,
480 U.S. 39, 57–58 (1987).
How many times have we seen the MCIO investigators have some access, but the trial counsel refuses to provide citing Mil. R. Evid. 513?
Let’s see if the Supremes grant. Follow the case here at SCOTUSblog.