R.S. v. Honorable Peter A. ThompsonAnnotate this Case
In this special action challenging the trial court's ruling that Defendant's due process rights required disclosure of the victim's privileged records for in-camera review, the Supreme Court held that the trial court did not err in ordering in-camera review.
Defendant was charged with second-degree murder for killing M.S., his girlfriend. Before trial, Defendant moved to compel Magellan Hospital to disclose for in-camera review M.S.'s privileged mental health records. The trial court ruled that Defendant's due process rights required dislosure of the privileged records for in-camera review. M.S.'s siblings filed a special action under Arizona's Victims' Bill of Rights challenging the ruling. The court of appeals granted relief, concluding that there was not a substantial probability that the records contained information critical to Defendant's justification defense. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' opinion and affirmed the trial court's judgment, holding that a record of M.S.'s purported mental illness would be material to Defendant's justification defense.