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Judge: Autopsy reports not subject to FOI law

SUMTER (AP) — A judge has ruled that written autopsy reports are not subject to South Carolina open records laws.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman ruled this week that the reports should be considered medical records, which are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The Item of Sumter sued after Sumter County Coroner Harvin Bullock refused to release an autopsy report on a 25-year-old man killed by a police officer.

The newspaper reports that South Carolina Press Association attorney Jay Bender argued that a 2002 law restricting the release of photographs, videos and audio recordings relating to an autopsy meant the written documents should still be available under the law.

Bullock says he’s pleased with the decision. An Item executive said the company hadn’t decided if it would appeal.

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