A former Maine man accused of trying to kill his wife by beating her with a rock and pushing her off a cliff lost his bid Tuesday to have charges dismissed over the way prosecutors obtained hundreds of pages of his medical records.
Charles Black contended prosecutors failed to follow proper procedures in obtaining the records, but the state Supreme Court said the appeal was premature. Black can appeal later if the records are used to secure a conviction, the court said.
Defense lawyer Walt McKee said prosecutors used “secret search warrants” to get more than 500 pages of Black’s records. He said prosecutors should have subpoenaed the records rather than ask a judge for a search warrant.
McKee said he had to follow one set of rules to obtain medical records while prosecutors had another.
“Why should there be two standards? The prosecutor can get them in a secret proceeding, but the defense has to do it with everyone participating,” he said.
Knox County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau disagreed with McKee’s contention that his client was harmed by the decision to seek a search warrant instead of a subpoena.
With the ruling, prosecutors can now review more than 500 pages of medical records, but evidentiary rules may prevent the material from being used at trial. Rushlau said law enforcement officials will review the records before determining whether there’s any evidence that can be used at trial.
Prosecutors contend Black tried to kill his wife, Lisa Black, in April 2011 by hitting her on the head with a rock several times before pushing her off Maiden Cliff on Mount Megunticook in Camden Hills State Park.
Lisa Black survived the fall and staggered to a road to summon help.
Charles Black tumbled down the mountain as well, suffering serious injuries that required treatment at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He told police he didn’t remember hitting or pushing his wife.
Law enforcement officials contended Lisa Black had received a $4 million inheritance and there was a dispute because Charles Black had spent some of the money.
With the court’s ruling, the case will move to trial this summer. Black is charged with attempted murder and several assault charges.
The couple divorced about a year ago and Charles Black now lives out of state, McKee said.