SW Legal studies in Business

Evidence Not Suppressed for Violation of a Statutory Right
Description

Appeals court held that evidence obtained that involved violation of patient privacy rights would not be suppressed. Evidence is suppressed when a constitutional right is violated or when a statute expressly provides for suppression. That is not the case under the federal law concerning medical privacy rights.

Topic Criminal Law
Key Words

Evidence; Suppression; HIPPA Rights

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Yenzer was wanted on a warrant. The police had a tip that she had a dental appointment, so waited at the dentist office for her to arrive. The officer could see Yenzer’s name on the appointment book at the dentist reception desk. When he asked the receptionist about it, she told him that Yenzer had rescheduled the appointment to another day. The officer waited for her at the dentist office that day. When the officer approached Yenzer about the warrant, she ran, thereby adding the charge of obstruction of legal process. When convicted, 12 months probation was added to her sentence on the other charge for the obstruction charge. She appealed on the grounds that her Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) privacy rights were violated because the dentist receptionist allowed the officer to see the appointment book and told him of the change in her schedule. She argued that the evidence should be suppressed and the obstruction of legal process charge dropped.

Decision

Affirmed. Even if Yenzer’s HIPPA rights were violated, suppression of evidence in a criminal case is not an appropriate remedy for violation of those rights. There are some exceptions to HIPPA privacy rights in cases involving law enforcement personnel, but even if those do not apply, a violation of HIPPA rights does not affect the conviction. Evidence is suppressed because of a violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights or if a statute specifically provides for suppression as a remedy. That is not the case here.

Citation

State v. Yenzer, ---P.3d--- (2008 WL 4820816, Ct. App., Kan., 2008)

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