Parolee May Get Private Counseling without Waiving Privilege

Where parole is conditioned on the parolee receiving psycotherapy (in this case, because of the sexual nature of the offense), and the parolee retains a private therapist in addition to using state-provided therapy, is the parolee required to waive the psychotherapist-patient privilege regarding the private therapist in order to remain on parole? The state in In re Corona, case no. B197023 (2d Dist. Feb. 20, 2008) insisted that the parolee must waive the privilege. The Court of Appeal says otherwise.

The court found that Corona should be commended, rather than threatened, for seeking additional therapy, at least absent the state’s ability to identify a “nefarious reason” that he did so. Requiring waiver of the privilege would be an unreasonable parole condition.

Nor is waiver needed to prevent Corona from unknowingly posing a threat to others, the court reasons, because the psychotherapist is already obligated to disclose such a threat under Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California.