Two issues regarding the right to privacy, and its potential impact on criminal cases, appeared in the news recently. These issues have no relationship to each other, but can both be highly relevant to criminal cases.
The first involves a your man who was living alone in a South American country. He was extremely poor and his family was basically gone. Having absolutely no personal resources for even necessities, he became involved with a local gang. To be clear, he was not one of the leaders, or even a major participant in gang activities, acting instead as the occasional lookout. Significantly, he really did not want any part of the gang lifestyle. He eventually fled his home country and sought asylum in the United States. He was afraid to return to his country after leaving, because of his well-founded belief that the gang he was previously involved with may kill him.
Part of the admission process here involved meeting with a mental health therapist whose position was government-related. The therapist took notes of their meetings, which included discussions of his gang-related activities. Without any prior knowledge or consent of the young man or the therapist, these notes came to light in connection with a hearing that was held to determine whether he could be admitted to the United States. The notes supported the conclusion that he was gang-involved in his home country, which will probably end his quest for admission to the United States and force his deportation back to his home country. Continue reading ›