Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege in California Protects Psychotherapy Records from Disclosure Even When Therapy Only Commenced Because It Was a Condition of Probation

Story v. Superior Court, 135 Cal. Rptr. 2d 532 (2003); 72(2) U.S. Law Week 1032 (July. 15, 2003)

A California Court of Appeal held that California's psychotherapist-patient  privilege may be asserted to block the release of a criminal defendant's  psychotherapy  records even though those records pertain to therapy into which the defendant entered only because it was made a condition of probation. After the defendant was charged with murder during the course of a rape and burglary, the state sought a court order to release the defendant's psychotherapy records.  In a case of first impression in California, the court ruled the defendant was a "patient" for purpose of this privilege regardless of why he entered treatment and was therefore entitled to raise this privilege in blocking the state's request for records...

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1