A subpoena for defendant’s medical records did not violate HIPAA or the Fourth Amendment. An overbroad subpoena can be quashed, but this one wasn’t. State v. Williams, 146 Conn. App. 114, 75 A.3d 668 (2013):
As to the defendant's claim that his rights under HIPAA were violated by the state when it issued a subpoena to the department, the defendant has not pointed to any finding by the court that the state failed to abide by the HIPAA regulations. The defendant does not argue that the state violated § 52-143, only that that statute is not applicable in this situation. He argues that a search warrant was required to obtain his records. Nothing in the HIPAA regulations that the defendant has brought to our attention requires a search warrant to obtain medical records in a criminal prosecution.36 To the contrary, an entity covered by HIPAA regulations may disclose medical records pursuant to a subpoena if certain conditions are met. See footnote 36 of this opinion. The court made no finding as to whether the conditions had been met, but noted that even if the conditions had not been met, the defendant's relief had to be obtained in a different forum. Because the court made no findings with regard to the circumstances under which the department was permitted to respond to the state's subpoena, the record is inadequate for review.
36 Section 164.512 (e) of title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations "authorizes a covered entity ... to disclose private health information in judicial or administrative proceedings in response to an order of a court. § 164.512 (e) (1) (i). The regulation also allows the disclosure of such information in those proceedings in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process, § 164.512 (e) (1) (ii), if the party seeking the information either notifies the patient (or at least makes a good faith effort to do so) ...." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Northwestern Memorial Hospital v. Ashcroft, 362 F.3d 923, 925 (7th Cir. 2004).
Turning to the defendant's claim that the state violated his right to privacy under the fourth and fourteenth amendments, this court considered a similar issue in State v. Legrand, 129 Conn. App. 239, 244, 20 A.3d 52, cert. denied, 302 Conn. 912, 27 A.3d 371 (2011), in which the defendant, David Paul Legrand, claimed that the state's use of a subpoena, rather than a search warrant, to obtain his medical records violated his federal and state constitutional rights. This court concluded, under those facts, that the state's use of a subpoena met the reasonableness requirement under the fourth amendment. Id., 257. Because the facts of this case are similar to those in Legrand, that case controls our decision, although the claim in Legrand constituted a claim of law, not an abuse of discretion, as the defendant here claims.
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
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"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays
down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at
bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
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and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that
the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and
safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
"You can't always get what you want /
But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)