Can Covid-19 Era Executive Orders Sharing Medical Information Violate Your Rights?

A Recent Minnesota Order Regarding the Sharing of Covid-19 Patient Information May Have Significant Legal Considerations. The Covid-19, AKA “Corona Virus”, and Current Considerations by Government The pandemic covid-19 crisis has led to unprecedented considerations and speculations on what the future of our medical data and privacy will look like both in Minnesota and throughout the United States.  Federal officials have even considered the possibility of issuing certified “immunity cards” to people who have had the corona virus despite the fact we have no idea whether inherent immunity invests after infection and for how long.   Obviously government has taken unprecedented actions in the face of this new and fast moving public safety concern.  The contrast between our deepest held liberties and the government restrictions on our very movements and livelihoods present significant legal questions with facts that appear virtually nowhere in published court opinions.  In short, we are in unchartered territory, and while we must continue to operate on science and facts, protect our neighbors, and avoid mindless conspiracy theories, liberty is a thing that must be closely guarded, and history teaches us that liberty is most vulnerable in the face of fear and crisis.  That means, for those of us in the legal profession, especially criminal defense attorneys, we need to remain vigilant, thoughtful, and deliberative when studying these developments as they have at least the potential to violate certain rights.  The criminal defense lawyer should have an updated and watchful eye on civil liberties in the context of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the operation of law enforcement and courts. It was recently revealed that, according to an executive order of Governor Tim Walz, the Minnesota Department of Health has the street addresses and other information of every person known to be infected with Covid-19, and that information can be freely shared with law enforcement.  While there may be utility to such an order, Minnesota medical privacy laws carry significant privileges for patients of all sorts which far exceed even HIPPA standards.  Recently, Alex DeMarco achieved a victory in a DWI case where a blood sample was suppressed after a serious accident in which his client was alleged to be driving under the influence.  The following is some pertinent law on the subject of how your medical information can be shared. Minnesota Statute § 595.02, subd. 1 …  (d) A licensed physician or surgeon, dentist, or chiropractor shall not, without the consent of the patient, be allowed to disclose any information or any opinion based thereon which the professional acquired in attending the patient in a professional capacity, and which was necessary to enable the professional to act in that capacity; after the decease of the patient, in an action to recover insurance benefits, where the insurance has been in existence two years or more, the beneficiaries shall be deemed to be the personal representatives of the deceased person for the purpose of waiving this privilege, and no oral or written waiver of the privilege shall have any binding… Read more {+}

Diagnosis of “child abuse” in infants is largely junk science and such expertise should not be allowed in court.

People who have been accused of child abuse often hire a lawyer that “confronts” them with the “science” and persuades innocent people to plead guilty.  Instead, a defense lawyer should be in the business of confronting the science itself.  Juries will nearly always believe what a physician says and presume that calling their expertise into question is just a “tactic” by a criminal defense attorney.  Thankfully brave reporters like @Mike_Hixenbaugh have paid attention and produced great investigative work like this:  An ER doctor was charged with abusing his baby. But 15 medical experts say there’s no proof..  How bad is the science?  So bad the the government is trying to silence journalists.  If you’ve received a single call from a teacher or social worker regarding bruises or marks on your child, you need to call an attorney immediately.   It moves THAT fast.  In less than 24 hours, you may see your child for the last time.  Countless termination of parental rights are premised solely on the “expert” testimony of a doctor. Authorities in Wisconsin did not want you to read this story. First a prosecutor sought a gag order after I reached out seeking comment. Then a state agency sent me a cease and desist order warning of potential criminal charges. Proud of @NBCNews for publishing it anyway. — Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) January 27, 2020     Diagnosis of “child abuse” in infants is largely junk science and such expertise should not be allowed in court. was last modified: January 29th, 2020 by Alex DeMarco

Those That Know 4th District Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty Best Will Not Be Silent.  “Other Officials” Will Hide Their Identities Like Cowards. 

Quotes from the Star Tribune story on the Attorney General’s demand for review of Mary Moriarty’s suspension. “She said they expressed concerns about her management style, what they called inflexibility with other criminal justice officials and confrontations on the issue of racial inequality. They also questioned a series of Tweets about historic lynchings in the Deep South, she said.” ————————————————- TRANSLATION: She has made the state actually do work and interrupted the Hennepin plea machine. Further she talks like those scary BLM people that block the highway because they are being stopped, beat, and shot by police in disproportionate numbers as demonstrated by every SHRED OF DATA and should be called out every time BY THE PEOPLE FIGHTING FOR MINORITIES IN COURT. ——————————————————— “Separately, law clerks and lawyers in Moriarty’s office wrote to the board in her defense, praising her leadership and commitment to clients and calling for her reinstatement. And dozens of public defenders and public interest attorneys outside Minnesota signed onto a letter objecting to her suspension” ————————- TRANSLATION: She has created no “culture of fear” in her office and has done nothing but educate all of us and zealously advocate and suffer beside all of us. We’re talking about a woman who was nearly too busy to comment because she was volunteering on scene with cleanup from the Drake Hotel Disaster.   PLEASE SIGN PETITION HERE. Those That Know 4th District Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty Best Will Not Be Silent.  “Other Officials” Will Hide Their Identities Like Cowards.  was last modified: January 7th, 2020 by Alex DeMarco

Vehicle Forfeitures Can Be Reversed On Constitutional Grounds

Minnesota Courts are bound by published opinions of higher courts, including Federal Circuit Courts.   Minnesota is in the 8th Circuit’s jurisdiction.  We have recently become alerted that some defendants are still losing highly valuable assets, most notably vehicles, for DWI and Drug Offenses through a process called forfeiture.  Forfeiture involves the government taking your asset on the grounds that it was used in a crime.  This area of law is in a state of flux right now on a number of levels.  If you’ve been accused of or convicted of a Controlled Substance Crime involving a motor vehicle or DWI, and you’ve been served with a notice of forfeiture, you should immediately have your case reviewed by a competent attorney as soon as possible.   The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in Timbs-v.-Indiana-17-1091_5536 that the excessive fines clause of the Federal Constitution applies to actions by States and Municipalities as well, and that forfeiture of valuable assets is a form of punishment.  The ruling does not specifically hold that all forfeitures are unconstitutionally excessive.  Rather, it simply states that the clause applies to the actions of local government as well and a district court which rules a forfeiture to be excessive punishment has the power and discretion to do so.  No particular bright line has been drawn as to what amount of loss is considered “excessive.”   Much of the analysis then likely turns on the degree of offense, the record of the individual, and the value of the asset.  Contact an attorney today for a free consultation.  Any and all documentation may be sent by email for free review to Vehicle Forfeitures Can Be Reversed On Constitutional Grounds was last modified: November 22nd, 2019 by Alex DeMarco

Ring Is Teaching Cops How To Obtain Doorbell Camera Footage Without A Warrant | Techdirt

Criminal Defense attorneys tend to sound the alarm on things that people don’t think about.  While twitter feeds and proposals by the executive branch to buy Greenland and nuke Hurricanes continue to dominate cable news, the fourth Amendment remains under siege.  The Fourth Amendment reads as follows: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Three primary eras of law enforcement have slowly whittled away at the efficacy of the Fourth Amendment.  The first was the granting of law enforcement powers to the IRS in the effort to break the Mafia and other organized crime.  Second, the “crack-down” of the 1980s and early 1990s on the drug trade, cocaine, crack, and heroin greatly expanded search and seizure powers, particularly in the home search and traffic stop contexts.  Third, the Patriot act and various State and Federal statutes and case law associated with investigations place a higher priority on security than privacy, the very opposite of Fourth Amendment “protection.” However, the latest and most effortless destruction of privacy is us, the American People.  From time to time, humorous anecdotes of how “Alexa” and similar technology misinterprets our words and searches for things without our intention have become mainstream. We are learning that in fact this is more than a glitch for our amusement.  It’s a deliberate and coordinated effort by commercial interests to learn our interests, concerns, needs and wants.  Government no longer has to invade your privacy.  It let’s you do it for them, and then gathers it as “subscriber information” over which you have little to no control.  Now tech companies and the government are coordinating to share this information with government agencies, especially law enforcement.   In the name of convenience and our own security, we have placed microphones and now even cameras in our home which listen and watch 24 hours.  Every one of these devices retain data that is retrievable by surveillance forces, even long after that information is deleted. It used to take multiple sources of documentation to obtain a warrant for the government to tap your landline, or to access your postal mailbox and unseal and read your mail.  Ask yourself this:  Other than information from the government itself, like Tax documents and vehicle tabs, what do you receive by mail that is actually private or confidential?  Probably not much.  If you’re like most people, most of your postal mail is junk mail, political advertisements, and local vendors.  You probably don’t care if the government sees that.  Now take into account that a complete search and data dump of every communication on a suspect’s cell phone has become standard procedure in many arrests.   How much more private is the device in your pocket used to communicate about every facet… Read more {+}