Prosecutor: Seal mental health records in parade crash

AP News
Posted: Nov 07, 2015 7:27 PM
Prosecutor: Seal mental health records in parade crash

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A prosecutor wants a judge to seal the mental health records of a woman charged with driving a car into the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade, killing four people and injuring dozens.

The motion, filed Friday by Payne County District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas in Stillwater, says Adacia Chambers' attorney appears to be trying to influence potential jurors by publicly discussing her mental health. Thomas said that information is "privileged and confidential" under state law.

"Of significant concern to the state is what appears to be a deliberate and inappropriate effort by counsel to prejudice any potential jury pool," Thomas wrote in the motion.

Chambers is accused of running a red light and purposely driving around a barricade and over a police motorcycle before crashing into spectators near the end of Oklahoma State's homecoming parade on Oct. 24.

She faces four counts of second-degree murder and 46 counts of assault and battery, and is jailed on $1 million bond. Both the defense and prosecution have requested a competency hearing for Chambers.

Thomas also criticized Chambers' attorney, Tony Coleman, for attaching to a motion a psychologist's report about the mental health and competency of Chambers.

"Although it is too late to un-ring the bell that was caused by counsel's filing of the evaluation, the state would request the court admonish counsel regarding this improper release of information," Thomas wrote. "And require that any future filings specifically related to matters of mental health or containing any mental health records be subject to court scrutiny ... before being made available in the public domain."

Coleman declined to comment on Saturday, but earlier said that a psychological evaluation performed by a forensic psychologist he retained, Shawn Roberson, indicates Chambers suffers from bipolar disorder and is not competent to stand trial.

"She is severely mentally ill and in need of immediate psychiatric treatment," Coleman said Wednesday.

Thomas also wrote that Coleman mischaracterized a request that a doctor be allowed to visit Chambers to perform a psychological evaluation as an application to determine her competency.

The prosecutor said in a statement last week that evidence suggests the crash "was an intentional act, not an accident."