Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court denied a motion to reconsider the defense’s appeal of a doctor-patient privilege issue in the case.
“We are obviously disappointed and we don’t necessarily agree (with the Supreme Court ruling) but that’s the Supreme Court and we will have to live with that decision,” Rittgers said.
He added it was difficult to say how the 19-year-0ld is doing nearly two years after the baby’s remains were found.
“As you can expect, she is under a lot of pressure having this hanging over her head,” Rittgers said.
The new trial date was confirmed a year after Richardson’s trial was continued when appeals were filed to the 12th District Court of Appeals concerning doctor-patient privilege.
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In October, the appellate court sided with the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office concerning doctor-patient privilege in the case of Brooke Skylar Richardson.
Richardson, now 19, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering in death of her infant daughter. She is free on bond.
The appeals court ruled that physician-patient privilege doesn’t apply in the case and that the teen’s conversations with two doctors should be admitted as evidence in her upcoming trial.
Documents requesting the Ohio Supreme Court take the case were filed under seal, with the defense stating, “The physician-patient privilege statute exists for a specific purpose to create an atmosphere of confidentiality and to encourage patients to make a full disclosure of their conditions to their physicians without fear that those details will later become public.”
Both the defense and prosecution had appealed a split decision handed down by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II, just days before the trial was scheduled to begin last spring.
Oda ruled that doctor-patient privilege did not apply to anything Richardson said about burying the infant’s remains. However, Oda ruled that another conversation Richardson had with a different doctor was privileged.
Richardson’s defense team argued that all of the teen’s conversations with her doctors about her pregnancy or what may have happened afterward were protected by doctor-patient privilege.
Warren County prosecutors, however, said a conversation Richardson had with one of her doctors — that she buried the remains in the backyard, which prompted the physician to call police — is not privileged because of a doctor’s duty to report abuse, neglect or other harm to a child.
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