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April 17, 2014

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SC Supreme Court to rule on public autopsy reports

Updated Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 | 8:32 a.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's Supreme Court is set to grapple with the question of whether autopsies are medical records.

On Wednesday, it will hear a lawsuit by a Sumter County newspaper against the county's coroner.

The Item of Sumter newspaper wants the high court to toss out a lower court's ruling that said autopsies do not have to be made public because they do not fall under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

The coroner says autopsies should be considered medical records that are exempt from public view.

But the newspaper says autopsy reports are investigative tools, not medical records.

Open records advocates say the Sumter County case is an example of government officials making it harder to get public documents.