Is the Process of Subpoena Proper In Obtaining a Prisoner's Medical Records ?

In Commonwealth v. Nieves, 399 Pa. Super. 277, 582 A.2d 341 (Pa. Super. 1990), the appellant claimed that the method by which the Commonwealth seized his medical records, i.e., the use of a subpoena as opposed to a petition, constituted a violation of his privacy. A panel of this court rejected his claim and specifically found the subpoena process proper. The court held that use of a subpoena was "adequate authority upon which the prison may rely in disclosing an inmate's . . . medical records." 582 A.2d at 344. The Nieves court further reasoned that even if it had deemed the procedure by which authorities accessed the records inadequate, it would not have ordered the evidence excluded since seizure of the records was proper under the law. Id.