A Multnomah County judge has granted the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center's motion to quash a subpoena that was seeking all of a domestic violence victim's Department of Human Services (DHS) records and mental health treatment records.
The defendant, who is accused of stabbing the victim, had sought an in camera review of any and all records that might be held by DHS relating to the victim, as well as any records of any kind of mental health treatment that the victim may have sought. There was no time limitations on the defendant's request, and the defendant had no actual knowledge of whether the records actually existed. At a lengthy hearing in front of Judge Eric Bergstrom, the defense argued that he was entitled to an in camera review of the the records because he was attempting to show that the victim had "history of violence."
Oregon Crime Victims Law Center's Legal Director Rosemary Brewer argued that DHS and mental health records are privileged, and as such, require a showing that there is information in the records that is likely to be material, favorable to the defendant, and admissible as evidence. Referring to Brewer's citing of Kahn v. Pony Express Courier Corp., 173 Or App 127 (2001), the Court denied the defendant's motion for an in camera review and granted the motion to quash on the grounds that DHS records are in fact privileged, as are mental health treatment records, and the defendant did not reach the necessary standard for review.
The case was referred to the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center by a victim advocate in the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.
A judge in Yamhill County has limited the release of a sexual assault victim's records after a hearing in which the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center represented the interests of the victim.
The defendant in the case had sought to have the trial judge review all of the victim's medical, mental health, and school records for potential release to him. The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center opposed the release on the grounds that the request violated the victim's constitutional right to privacy and the doctor-patient and psychotherapist-patient privilege, and that the defendant had not shown that there was material in the records that would be favorable and material to his defense so as to overcome that privilege.
Legal Director Rosemary Brewer filed a motion asking the court to withhold the records from the defendant.
At a hearing on February 7, Judge John L. Collins held that the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center's motion was granted in part, strictly limiting the records that were released to the defendant. None of the victim's school or medical records were released, and only very limited portions of the victim's therapy records were released.
The victim learned of the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center through the victim advocates of the Yamhill County District Attorney's Office.