The judge in the Kobe Bryant case ruled yesterday that the alleged victim’s medical records cannot be used against her in court. The Rocky Mountain News says that as a result of the order by Judge Terry Ruckriegle, Bryant’s defense will not be able to to use the 19-year-old woman’s medical records to tell jurors about her two suicide attempts in the five months before her encounter with the Los Angeles Lakers basketball star. Some experts said that the defense still may be able to introduce evidence about those incidents through non-medical witnesses.
Kathie Kramer of the Denver-based Rape Assistance and Awareness Program said the ruling meant “that people who report sexual assaults can presume, just like you and I, that their communication with medical providers will remain private.”
Ruckriegle said “the public policy underlying this statutorily created physician-patient privilege demands a strict adherence to protection” of that privacy right.
Former prosecutor Karen Steinhauser, a professor at the Denver University College of Law, said the ruling “means that people should not be concerned, that if they talk to friends and family members for support about their medical condition, that that doesn’t mean that they’ve waived their privilege.”