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  Posted on: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Federal Appeals Court Rules on Autopsy Photo Privacy
SAN DIEGO - A federal appeals court has ruled in a San Diego case that family members have a constitutional right to keep private the autopsy photos of relatives and can sue government officials who release them to the news media. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first to establish a federal privacy right over autopsy photos of a deceased loved one. But the ruling, released Tuesday, was mixed news for Brenda Marsh, who sued the county over a retired prosecutor releasing autopsy photos of her 2-year-old son, Phillip Buell. A San Diego federal court judge dismissed Marsh's suit, and the appeals court upheld that ruling. The court said Jay Coulter had immunity when he released the photos in 2006 because the privacy right for autopsy photos was not clearly established at that time.
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