Mathews v. Becerra, No. S240156 (Cal. 2019)
Nature of Case: Plaintiffs were two therapists who brought a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a California state law that required them to report to authorities whenever a client disclosed to them that they had viewed illegal images online. Plaintiffs brought the suit alleging that it violated their patients’ rights to privacy under the state and federal constitutions. The trial court dismissed the suit, holding that the law does not violate a privacy right protected by the state constitution and the California Court of Appeal affirmed. Plaintiffs sought review.
Holding: California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal, holding that the Plaintiffs raised a cognizable constitutional claim that the mandated reporting requirement violated their patients’ right to privacy under the California state constitution. The Court remanded the case for fact-finding, where the state would be required to demonstrate that the statute advanced its stated goal of child protection in a manner that comports with the constitution.
News and Related Materials
- LA Times Editorial — Don’t drive child porn viewers away from therapy