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Old March 14, 2009, 12:10 PM   #74
Senior Member
Join Date: February 14, 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 111
Response to Antipitas

In my post of yesterday (#69) I thought I made it clear that, regarding the Wahlberg case, I could not see from the reports any evidence to support the faculty member's actions. I did not comment on what the police did. The previous posts about the Wahlberg case served to open up a more general discussion of the problems that exist in our society regarding defending rights versus responding to risk.

I do not pretend to have comprehensive knowledge of the laws regarding such terms as probable cause and reasonable suspicion. However, I suspect that these terms are directed mostly at what must guide the actions of law enforcement and other agencies with legal authority.

Some civilians, who, because of the statutes governing their professional behavior (as in my case as a mental health professional), are expected to balance rights to privacy (confidentiality) against the potential risk to others (as in the cases of child abuse and serious threats of violence). The lawmakers have decided that certain professionals must exercise judgment and assess to the best of their abilities the degree of danger that may exist or harm that has been done. When reports regarding these types of issues are submitted it is then up to law enforcement or agencies with legal authority to determine, under their legal guidelines as to what actions, if any, to take.

In the Wahlberg case I would think (given my limited legal knowledge) that the issues of probable cause and reasonable suspicion are more relevant to what law enforcement did than the actions of the faculty member (which we all seem to agree were unwarranted). Whether Wahlberg has a case against her in civil court is beyond my scope.

The point of my post was not to review the Wahlberg case, but to point out that the lawmakers have determined that there is a balance between rights and risk, and it has been difficult for them to create clarity about this in many circumstances.
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