United States v. Chase

340 F.3d 978 (2003)

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United States v. Chase

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
340 F.3d 978 (2003)

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Facts

Steven Chase (defendant) was treated by psychiatrist Kay Dieter. During a counseling session, Chase told Dieter that he had thought about injuring or killing two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. Dieter was concerned that Chase would act on the threats and disclosed the threats to the local police. After Chase made threats against the same FBI agents a second time, Dieter contacted the agents and warned them of the threat. Chase was arrested and tried for threatening the agents. Over Chase’s objection, Dieter testified at trial regarding her conversations with Chase in their counseling sessions. The district court ruled that the psychotherapist-patient testimonial privilege did not apply, because Chase made credible threats against a third party. Chase was convicted by the jury. On appeal, Chase argued that Dieter’s testimony violated the psychotherapist-patient privilege. The court of appeals initially affirmed the conviction and the district court’s evidentiary ruling. Chase petitioned for rehearing en banc.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Graber, J.)

Concurrence (Kleinfeld, J.)

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