Georgia Supreme Court considers prisoners' medical privacy

Walter C. Jones reports:

The final oral arguments of Supreme Court Chief Justice George Carley’s 33 years on the bench left the state’s highest court grappling Tuesday with how much privacy prisoners can expect when discussing medical issues.

Carley’s swan song case is Torrance Demond “Inky” Dunn’s conviction for the 2000 murder of Herbert Ramond Smith in Athens.

Dunn is serving a life sentence in Washington State Prison.

At the heart of Dunn’s appeal to the top court is whether the jury should have heard testimony from a nurse who treated him after he was booked into the Clarke County jail. He told her, in coherent terms, that his injury was caused by a gunshot.

Despite a deputy sheriff being present and hearing the comments, his appeals lawyer said he has a right to privacy regarding medical matters.

“Even though you’re under arrest, you don’t automatically give up your right to privacy,” said Dunn’s appellate attorney, Elizabeth Grant.


So a prisoner can’t obtain medical care because there’s no expectation of privacy? In general, that doesn’t sound right, but if a sheriff is present, then how much expectation of privacy could the prisoner really have had anyway?

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