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[ATG] Attorney General’s office argues death certificates should remain a public record
Start Date: 5/8/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/8/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – Today Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office argued in an Indiana Supreme Court case that the cause of death listed in death certificates is a public record that the public should be able to obtain from county health departments.

The Indiana Supreme Court heard oral argument today in the lawsuit Evansville Courier & Press and Rita Ward v. Vanderburgh County Health Department.  The State is not a party to the case, and the Attorney General’s Office does not represent either side.  However, the AG’s Office last September filed an amicus brief, also known as a friend-of-the-court brief, with the Court in support of keeping the cause of death in death certificates available to the general public, which is the plaintiffs’ position.  Citing the statute the Legislature passed, the brief argued in favor of the general policy of open access to government information and broadly construing public access laws.

“We are always sensitive to Hoosiers’ privacy concerns but the statute calls for this basic document, setting forth the decedent’s name, age and cause of death, to be a public record accessible at the county level.  In keeping with the principles of transparency and accountability, we ask merely for a return to what had been the longstanding practice of making the cause of death in death certificates promptly available to the public who has the right to that information,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

During the oral argument in the Supreme Court today, the plaintiff’s attorney reserved a few minutes of argument time to the Attorney General’s Office as amicus curiae.  Deputy Attorney General Stephen Creason, chief counsel of the Appeals Division in the AG’s Office, delivered the argument for the State.

The Indiana Supreme Court took the case under advisement and will rule at a later date.

-30-

Location Information:
State House
IN
Marion

Vanderburgh County
Contact Information:
Name: Bryan Corbin
Phone: 317.233.3970
Email: Bryan.Corbin@atg.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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