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Court protects post-mortem Foster photos

March 30, 2004 at 11:45 AM

WASHINGTON, March 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a case involving the late Vince Foster federal law recognizes a family's right to privacy in death-scene images.

At least five government investigations showed Foster, a deputy White House counsel, killed himself in a Northern Virginia park in 1993 while experiencing a bout of profound depression. Not satisfied with that conclusion, a California man sued to obtain postmortem photos of Foster's body. A federal appeals court ruled the man was entitled to some death scene images, despite an inability to show some wrongdoing on the part of any government agency.

But in reversing the appeals court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: "We hold that where there is a privacy interest protected by exemption 7(c)(of the Freedom of Information Act) and the public interest being asserted is to show that responsible officials acted negligently or otherwise improperly in the performance of their duties, the requester must establish more than a bare suspicion in order to obtain disclosure."

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