Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 30, 2013

Ind. judge rules public can't access death records


The Associated Press

Evansville — A southwestern Indiana judge has ruled that local health officials do not have to provide cause of death records to the general public.

The Evansville Courier & Press and a Pike County resident sued the Vanderburgh County Health Department after the health agency last May abruptly stopped including death causes in the information it provided to the newspaper.

Courier & Press Editor Tim Ethridge says the newspaper is weighing whether it will appeal the ruling.

Senior Vanderburgh Circuit Court Judge Carl Heldt's ruling addressed contradictory state laws about who can access cause of death information.

The newspaper argued that death certificates are public records, while the health department says state law requires it to restrict access to the information.