Can you be compelled to turn over your protected health data to law enforcement?

This happened in Ohio to Ross Compton, whose pacemaker data became evidence that led to charges of aggravated arson and insurance fraud. The incident leading to these charges occurred last September when Compton told police that after realizing his house was on fire, he tossed suitcases filled with his belongings out a window, and carried them to his car. He also said that he had an artificial heart.

It was this serious heart condition that allowed police to secure a warrant for his pacemaker data. “It was one of the key pieces of evidence that allowed us to charge him,” Lt. Jimmy Cunningham said. A cardiologist who reviewed the pacemaker data said it was “highly improbable” that Compton was physically able to collect, pack, and carry the suitcases.

The police also detected traces of gasoline on Compton’s shoes and clothes, as well as gasoline outside the home. It’s possible, of course, that he picked up these traces in the course of running to his car.

“This investigation has gone way out of control,” Compton recently told a reporter. “I had no motive whatsoever to burn down my house.” He called the allegations “utterly insane.”

Compton will be arraigned sometime this month.

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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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