An individual’s medical records should be confidential in most cases — but not when those records are used as a defense in a double murder case.
The guardian for Tucumcari’s Tony Day, 14 when he was accused of killing his mother and sister in 2012, has asked court records and proceedings be sealed when they deal with Day’s medical or mental health treatment.
A hearing is scheduled May 5 in Tucumcari before Tenth Judicial District Court Judge Albert Mitchell.
Prosecutors have already filed a motion opposing secret court proceedings. That’s the position every freedom lover should take, even those with Day’s best interests in mind.
The teenager is not accused of stealing beer or marking territory with gang signs. He is accused of brutally killing his adoptive mother and her daughter. If he is tried as a juvenile — quite likely and arguably the right thing to do given his age — he will be released from custody in less than six years, even if he is found responsible for the deaths. The public has a right to know every detail about this young man’s life, especially as it relates to the reason for the slayings. He may be living next door in 2020.
We don’t know much about the horrors Day may have been subjected to in his lifetime. There are allegations he was sexually abused as a young child. His adoptive father said he was not wanted by his grandmother. Most children in the custody of New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department have been subject to abuse or misfortune through no fault of their own.
The case is tragic, no matter the events that led to the fatal stabbing and shooting. There may well be a medical or mental issue that’s played a role.
But we don’t have secret criminal court proceedings in a free country.
Assistant District Attorney Kirk Chavez wrote in his motion that “any and all evidence is to be considered openly in order for the fact-finder to reach an ultimate conclusion in a matter that can assure the public that justice has been rendered.”
We hope Judge Mitchell reaches that same conclusion.
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Publisher Mike Jensen and Editor David Stevens.