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Protection of privacy

The Alabama Supreme Court issued an opinion in Ex parte A.B. on 21 July 2006. A.B. had sought a mandamus to overturn a circuit court order requiring her to disclose extremely private information -- the identity of the father of her child which was known to no one other than the father. I represented the petitioner A.B.

The plaintiff in the circuit court had demanded to know the name of the father solely for her use in choosing jurors in the case. I argued to the Supreme Court that this disclosure would violate the privacy rights of my client and would do little to help the plaintiff choose a jury. An example will help:

Assume that Bob Woodward was sued in an automobile accident case several years back. The plaintiff says, "I need to know the name of Deep Throat to make sure that he or someone knows him does not show up on the jury." Since, at that time, no one knew who Deep Throat was, no one could be influenced for or against Woodward by knowing Deep Throat. (I wish I had thought up that example to use in the brief.) So it was in this case. No one who happens to know Mr. X could be influence by Mr. X's connection with A.B. if no one knows the connection between A.B. and X.

You may download a copy of the Court's decision here.

This entry was posted by Edward at 3:48 PM, 21 July 2006 | Categories: Constitutional law

The picture above was made in 1914 by the Birmingham Engraving Co. This reproduction is from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

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