[Homestead] Most notorious junkie in U.S. can't hide evidence
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Oct 7 12:22:53 EDT 2004
Court: Limbaugh Records Properly Seized
Wed Oct 6, 4:31 PM ET
/By JILL BARTON, Associated Press Writer/
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals court ruled Wednesday that
prosecutors did not violate Rush Limbaugh's privacy rights when they
paid a surprise visit to his doctors and seized his medical records for
an investigation into his use of painkillers.
• Limbaugh vs. Florida
<http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/adobepdf.html> (4th District
Court of Appeal)
Investigators raided the doctors' offices last November to see if the
conservative radio commentator had engaged in "doctor shopping," or
illegally visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions.
Limbaugh, 53, has not been charged with a crime and the investigation
had been at a standstill pending a decision on the medical records,
which prosecutors have not yet been allowed to examine.
The 4th District Court of Appeal rejected Limbaugh's claim that his
privacy rights trumped investigators' power to seize his records, and
also said prosecutors did not have to notify him of their search
warrants or give him an opportunity to challenge them.
"The state's authority to seize such records by a validly issued search
warrant is not affected by any right of privacy in such records," the
three-judge panel ruled.
Limbaugh's attorney said he will appeal.
"This was a fishing expedition from the outset to see if there was
anything they could find to charge me with," Limbaugh said on his
afternoon radio show. "There was no doctor-shopping, but it was my
contention all along that I shouldn't have to give up my right to
privacy to prove my innocence. That's not the way it works in this
He also said: "The issue here goes beyond me, actually. It goes to the
privacy of everyone's medical records."
Prosecutors went after Limbaugh's medical records after learning that he
received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six
months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion.
Limbaugh admitted his addiction to pain medication last October, saying
it stemmed from severe back pain. He took a five-week leave from his
afternoon radio show to enter a rehab program.
State Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat accused by Limbaugh of
pursuing him for political reasons, said the ruling will allow the case
to move forward.
"This office did not violate any of Mr. Limbaugh's rights,
constitutional or statutory, but to the contrary acted in accord with
Florida law," Krischer said.
Limbaugh was supported by an unlikely ally — the American Civil
Liberties Union (news
- web sites
Randall Marshall, legal director for the Florida ACLU, said Wednesday's
decision threatens the privacy rights of all Floridians.
If the ruling stands, Marshall said, "you would never have an
opportunity to try and limit the information that police can go through."
On the Net:
Rush Limbaugh: http://www.rushlimbaugh.com
Florida 4th District Court of Appeal: http://www.4dca.org
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