Bill Requires Judge's Approval For Release Of Autopsy Photos And Video

January 20, 2014

(Photo courtesy of the Arizona State Legislature)
Rep. Karen Fann of Prescott introduced the bill.

An Arizona lawmaker wants to require a judge’s approval for the release of autopsy photos and videos. Under Prescott Republican Karen Fann’s legislation, a superior court order would be required before the release of such photos, and the judge would have to review sensitive images like pictures, x-rays and digital photos before granting their release.

Fann said the bill is the result of concerns she has heard from county medical examiners about getting involved in legal action from people seeking the images. Fann said the measure, introduced last Thursday, has already gained bipartisan support.

The Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office was named in a lawsuit last September, in which the Arizona Republic and 12 News Phoenix sought investigative records but not photos connected with the autopsies for the 19 firefighters who died battling the Yarnell Hill wildfire. Both outlets have since withdrawn their suits.