Chester's Law - Make it illegal to share medical documents of the deceased to the public
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After the autopsy report of Chester Bennington was made public by TMZ and subsequently other media sites, many people were angered that the details were not handled sensitively and more importantly, that the details were released at all.
According to https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0364.htm (STATES' LAWS ON DISCLOSING CRIME SCENE PHOTOGRAPHS, AUTOPSY REPORTS, AND 911 TAPES AND TRANSCRIPTS), only some states (Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas) have declared that autopsy reports are public records.
According to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code. § 130, "Autopsy reports for children under age 18 killed as a result of criminal act are generally restricted when family requests that the records be sealed" and are only disclosable in certain circumstances.
Due to the nature of Chester's death, releasing specific details is unnecessary and damaging to his family, friends and fans.
Suicide contagion is a real problem when details of suicide are released to the public and not handled sensitively. "Evidence suggests that the effect of contagion is not confined to suicides occurring in discrete geographic areas. In particular, nonfictional newspaper and television coverage of suicide has been associated with a statistically significant excess of suicides" (Gould MS, Davidson L. Suicide contagion among adolescents. In: Stiffman AR, Felman RA, eds. Advances in adolescent mental health. Vol III. Depression and suicide. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1988.)
I ask you to consider changing the current law and preventing the disclosure of medical documents (such as autopsy reports) of the deceased unless required by law enforcement, prosecutors, the defendant and the defense team in criminal or related habeas proceedings or a person related to the deceased. I see no reason why the public should have access to autopsy reports and other medical documents of the deceased.
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