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Appeals court supports therapist revelation of patient threat to kill President

[JURIST] The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that the prison therapist of a Montana inmate did not violate the psychologist-patient privilege when he contacted the Secret Service to report a letter the inmate wrote threatening to kill President Bush. Robert Romo sent the letter to the White House and then told his therapist about its contents. Romo claimed at trial that the therapist's testimony should not have been admitted, but the court disagreed and convicted him of threatening the President in violation of 18 USC s. 871(a) [Cornell LII text]. The Ninth Circuit upheld the conviction, finding that Romo's conversation with his therapist occurred outside a therapy session, so the privilege was not violated. Read the US Attorney's press release on Romo's June sentencing, which includes a transcript of a second letter he sent to US District Judge Sam E. Haddon also threatening to kill the President. AP has more.

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