It’s Hard to Argue in Favor of Autopsy reports, but Let Me Try…

Nice job by Patch to keep public attention on a bad bill in Connecticut:

Perhaps no bill better illustrates the conflicting interest of the public’s right to know and a person’s privacy than S.B. 1054.

The bill, now before the Judiciary Committee, proposes that parents of a murdered child could block disclosure of the autopsy report. It would allow parents to veto the Chief Medical Examiner’s decision to release such information, even without a court order.

WIldly emotionally popular, I imagine, and also fraught with disaster. Let’s hypothesize that the child was missing, then found dead later. No autopsy report released? Say the report triggered someone who had no earthly idea that they were a witness to step forward and say something to someone? Something, anythimng that would forward the investigation? Because if the parents go with their emotions here…and it would be awfully hard not to…I can guarantee no one will ever know a thing to prompt such follow-up.

Here’s State Rep. Livvy Floren a Republican serving Stamford and Greenwich in the 149th House District, playing masterfully to the political winds…

“I will fight to the death for transparency in government, but this goes beyond,” said Floren. “Who determined you guys [reporters] were god and get to put whatever you want out there? There is absolutely no reason an autopsy report needs to be disclosed. It adds nothing; it’s a totally medical and forensic thing.”

No sir, it is a medical thing that can be sloppily done, hastily done, poorly done, and which demands scruitny by the press AND the public. What’s more, the story continues…

The law now allows broad exemptions to public disclosure of medical examiner findings. Right now disclosure is only allowed to those with a legitimate interest in a case such as legal, or scientific researchers. And the medical examiner can go to court to prevent disclosure if believes compelling interest.

SO an already bad piece of policy is made worse, all in the interest of trading on the emotions of bereaved parents while no one stops for a second to consider whether FEWER people seeing an autopsy report is a good thing, in terms of public accountability.

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