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North Carolina Legislature Bans Release of Autopsy Photos

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  1. Freedom of Information
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The North Carolina Legislature, following Florida’s lead, banned the copying of autopsy photos and recordings. In both states, the law was a response to news media requests for the autopsy photos of race car driver and North Carolina native Dale Earnhardt, who was killed during the 2001 Daytona 500. A Florida newspaper, which believed Earnhardt died because of improper head restraints in his racecar, had requested the autopsy records to have them examined by an expert in head injuries. Florida subsequently passed a law exempting autopsy photos from the public records law. The North Carolina law bans release but does permit a requester to seek court review. (8/24/05)