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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Utah v. Pyle (2014)

13 April 2014 Published in Resolved Cases

Fourth Amendment - The ACLU of Utah and ACLU filed a legal brief in support of a Utah paramedic whose Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police swept up his confidential prescription records in a dragnet search.

The Unified Fire Authority (UFA) is Utah’s largest fire agency, with 26 fire stations in communities surrounding Salt Lake City. Last year, some UFA employees discovered that several vials of morphine in ambulances based at three fire stations had been emptied of medication. Suspecting theft, they called the police. Instead of interviewing firefighters and paramedics with access to those ambulances, the Cotton Wood Heights Police Department downloaded and searched prescription histories of all UFA employees using a loophole in Utah law that allows law enforcement to access this private information with out a warrant. Though no one was charged with the morphine theft, three employees were charged with prescription fraud based on the medical data. One of the employees, Ryan Pyle, filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing that the warrantless search of his prescription records violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The ACLU is weighed in on Mr. Pyle’s side. 

Utah has dismissed the criminal charges against Mr. Pyle.

 

In a similar case brought by the ACLU of Oregon, a U.S. District court ruled that a warrant is required to access a drug prescription database.

Press Release: (4/14/14) “ACLU of Utah and ACLU File Friend of Court Brief in Prosecution Based on Egregious Breach of Medical Privacy”>>

Motion For Leave To File Amicus Brief Of The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Utah (PDF) >>

Proposed Amicus Brief filed in Utah v. Pyle (PDF) >>

Exhibit A: Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program v. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (PDF) >>

ACLU Blog of Rights: Curious Cop Downloaded Hundreds of Private Prescription Records Because He Could (4/14/14) >>ACLU Blog of Rights: Curious Cop Downloaded Hundreds of Private Prescription Records Because He Could (4/14/14) >>