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Supreme Court rejects judicial and medical records access cases

Posted: 7:24 AM, Oct 11, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-11 14:24:00Z
Supreme Court rejects judicial and medical records access cases

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday it refused to hear arguments in cases dealing with judicial election conduct and medical records access.

In the first case, the justices let stand a state court ruling that said federal laws protecting health record privacy don't prevent Legal Aid of West Virginia from reviewing patient files at the state's two psychiatric hospitals.

For more than two decades the legal aid group has helped psychiatric patients file grievances over alleged abuse and neglect. State law allows access to patient files without written consent.

But state officials began restricting the group's access to patient files in 2014, saying it violates federal privacy laws.

A state circuit court sided with the patient advocates. The state supreme court agreed.

State officials argued that federal law trumps state law.

In the second case, the Supreme Court refused to take up a dispute over Arizona rules that prohibit some candidates for elected judgeships from soliciting campaign contributions or participating in somebody else's campaign.

The justices on Tuesday left in place a lower court ruling that rejected a constitutional challenge to parts of Arizona's Code of Judicial Conduct.

Arizona lawyer Randolph Wolfson challenged the rules after twice running unsuccessfully for a judgeship in Mohave County. He argued that the rules infringe on candidates' free-speech rights and were too broad to serve the state's interest in having an impartial judiciary.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the rules.