Q&A: Access to cororner’s report

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From the  Lebanon Reporter:

Q: Aren’t coroner’s reports public records? The Marion County Coroner’s office gave a report to the family, but they are refusing to give it to the paper. 

A: When the coroner investigates a death there are two types of records created. There is the autopsy, which goes into detail about the examination of the body and would include toxicology reports, etc.

This record falls under the investigatory records exception, and the coroner does not have to make it publicly available, although it’s not unusual for the family to receive a copy.

The coroner also has to complete a coroner’s report within 14 days of the autopsy report.

This report doesn’t give you the details but must include the coroner’s conclusion as to the cause of death, manner of death and mechanism of death.

The record must be made available to the public for inspection and copying.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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