Pubdate: Wed, 04 Feb 2004
Source: Ledger, The (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The Ledger
Author: Darlene Williams


Owen Sear's diatribe against the American Civil Liberties Union ["Open
Medical Records in Limbaugh Case; ACLU Is No Angel," letter, Jan. 24]
might be interesting if he were informed of the facts. He is not.

Sear complains that the ACLU is defending the privacy of medical
records in the Rush Limbaugh case. He fails to understand the facts of
the case. Medical records are not sacrosanct, and the ACLU is not
claiming they are.

The Legislature, recognizing that what is contained in medical records
is private, created a procedure by which law enforcement can gain
access to such records when, as in Limbaugh's case, criminal activity
is suspected. Before police seize the medical records of any
Floridian, a hearing must be held, so that a judge can determine
whether there is a less-intrusive method by which police can obtain
the relevant information, and to ensure that, even if records are
turned over, only the relevant parts become public.

Law-enforcement officers seized Limbaugh's medical records, ignoring
the law and, thereby, violating his rights. Sear seems to be more
interested in attacking the ACLU than understanding these essential
facts and the precedent that this may set.

Sear also admonishes the ACLU "to work for unbiased police oversight."
The ACLU supports independent civilian oversight throughout the
country. In Miami, the ACLU helped create a civilian investigative
panel that is now reviewing allegations of police misconduct during
the recent FTAA Ministerial talks.

Sear also incorrectly claims that for the ACLU "tearing down crosses
and nativity scenes has a higher priority."

In fact, we represent hundreds of Protestant, Jewish and Catholic
families in the Florida Supreme Court, defending their right to
maintain crosses and other religious symbols at the gravesides of
their loved ones at the Boca Raton Municipal Cemetery.

 Darlene Williams

Chairperson, Greater Tampa Chapter

ACLU of Florida
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin