Man accused of rape can’t get alleged victim’s mental health records. N.J. court just set new rules.
The mental health records of rape victims should be off-limits at criminal trials except in rare cases in which there is evidence the victim’s mental health may have affected the ability to testify truthfully, New Jersey’s highest court ruled Monday.
The ruling concerned a case in which an Essex County man sought to introduce the institutionalization records of a relative who accused him of raping her, claiming she “went crazy” and imagined the assault.
In an unanimous decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court declined to release the woman’s records, finding courts “must balance a victim’s protections” against “a defendant’s constitutional right to present a meaningful defense.”