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Arizona bill would limit access to autopsy photos

PHOENIX -- An Arizona lawmaker wants to ensure autopsy photos and videos can only be released with a superior court judge's approval.

State Rep. Karen Fann, a Republican from Prescott, is proposing legislation that would have a judge review sensitive images such as pictures, x-rays and digital photos from autopsies before they are released.

Fann says the bill stems from county medical examiners concerned about getting embroiled in legal action by anyone seeking the images.

Fann says the bill, which she introduced Thursday, has already gained bipartisan support.

The Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office was named in a lawsuit last September in which The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV sought investigative records, but not photos of remains, in the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 firefighters.

Both outlets have since dismissed the lawsuit.

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