Rafael Olmeda reports:
Someone violated Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer’s order to protect the private medical records of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz, and his lawyers argued in court Wednesday that it wasn’t them.
Cruz, who turned 20 on Monday, is facing the death penalty, charged with committing 17 first-degree murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. He’s also charged with 17 counts of attempted murder.
The mass shooting prompted the state to create a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission to investigate what happened and how a repeat can be avoided. That commission, according to court documents, obtained private medical records that Scherer had ordered sealed.
Such a release of information should have required a court order, said defense lawyer Melisa McNeill.
Cruz’s lawyers were in court Wednesday asking Scherer to hold a hearing to determine who released the information — it could only have been the State Attorney’s Office or the Broward Sheriff’s Office, McNeill said. Scherer should then decide whether anyone should be held in contempt for violating the order, she said.
Read more on SunSentinel.
This whole issue of the release of a student’s medical/mental health records has come up a number of times before and depending on the facts of the case, may implicate HIPAA, FERPA, and/or state laws.
I would be interested to hear what Dan Solove thinks about this case as he’s blogged about these issues in the past when they came up in the Virginia Tech shooter case.