834 P.2d 786 (Cal. 1992)
During a murder investigation, three audiotape cassettes were seized from petitioner psychotherapist's possession. The cassettes contained notes of several sessions with petitioner patients and a recording of a session with petitioner patients. Petitioner patients were charged with murder, and petitioners asserted the psychotherapist-patient privilege pursuant to Cal. Evid. Code § 1014.
The court held that the privilege was available for the notes and recording, because they reflected confidential communications between petitioner patients and petitioner psychotherapist, were made in the course of the psychotherapeutic relationship, and were made in confidence.
- The dangerous patient exception applied to the notes for two sessions, because petitioner psychotherapist had reasonable cause to believe that petitioner patients were dangerous to himself and others, and disclosure was necessary to prevent harm.
- The dangerous patient exception did not apply to the other sessions because petitioner psychotherapist did not have reasonable cause to believe that disclosure was necessary.
Judgment rejecting the psychotherapist-patient privilege for notes of two sessions affirmed, because petitioner psychotherapist had reason to believe disclosure was necessary to prevent harm. Judgment rejecting the privilege for notes of a third session and the recording reversed, because petitioner psychotherapist did not have reason to believe disclosure was necessary.
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