SC Supreme Court: Autopsy reports are not public

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that autopsy reports are not public records.

The justices ruled 4-1 Wednesday that autopsies are medical records and fall under privacy provisions of the state's open records law. They suggest if people are not happy with the ruling, the Legislature should change the law.

The justices ruled in a lawsuit against the Sumter County coroner by The Sumter Item. The newspaper sued because Coroner Harvin Bullock refused to release the autopsy report of a man shot to death by police. The report's findings contradicted what police said early in their investigation.

Associate Justice Costa Pleicones dissented, saying autopsy reports are not specifically excluded by law. He says a coroner could black out medical information that was not relevant to the case.