AZ: Judge denies use of victim's medical records in upcoming murder trial

Ben Backhaus reports on a case where the judge has already had to weigh the privacy of medical records of the deceased vs. the right of the defense to put on its defense:

Jeffrey Martinson’s defense counsel will have to dig deeper for evidence after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sally Duncan rejected its request to use the medical records of his deceased son and the son’s mother in the defendant’s murder trial.

Martinson, 43, of Ahwatukee Foothills is charged with the first-degree murder of his 5-year-old son, Joshua Eberle-Martinson, and faces the death penalty if found guilty.

During an oral argument proceeding Sept. 24, Duncan denied the defendant’s motion for the records on the grounds that such a request violates a statute in the Arizona Constitution, but she ordered the Martinson defense team to interview doctors in case evidence arises for Duncan to reconsider its request.

The defense’s motion, filed in 2007, claims it seeks the records because Eberle may have taken the acne treatment medication Accutane – having caused a high percentage of birth defects among its pregnant users’ children – within the first 10 days of her pregnancy with Joshua. The defense reasons that understanding the natal health of Eberle and her son for its defendant’s trial outweighs their rights to privacy, as the cause of death will be a factor in Martinson’s fate.

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