State v. Cardall

In State v. Cardall, 1999 UT 51, 982 P.2d 79, the defendant was charged with rape of a child. Prior to trial, Cardall moved the court to conduct an in camera review of his victim accuser's school psychological records. The trial court denied the motion. Id. After his conviction by a jury, Cardall appealed, claiming that the trial court had erred in refusing to conduct the in camera review and that as a result he had been denied due process. The privilege at issue in Cardall is found in rule 506 of the Utah Rules of Evidence. Rule 506 states in relevant part that "a patient has a privilege, during the patient's life, to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing: (1) diagnosis made, treatment provided, or advice given, by a physician or mental health therapist, (2) information obtained by examination of the patient." Utah R. Evid. 506(b); see also Utah Code Ann. 58-60-113 (1998) ("Evidentiary privilege for mental health therapists regarding admissibility of any confidential communication in administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings is in accordance with Rule 506 of the Utah Rules of Evidence."). The Court specifically recognized in Cardall that the privilege in rule 506 "is not absolute," 1999 UT 51 at P29, and noted the significant qualification to the rule where the rule provides that "no privilege exists as to 'a communication relevant to an issue of the physical, mental, or emotional condition of the patient in any proceeding in which that condition is an element of any claim or defense.'" Id. (quoting Utah R. Evid. 506(d)(1)). The Cardall decision follows the United States Supreme Court's reasoning in recognizing the qualified nature of the privilege in rule 506.