In Light of Reason and Experience: Against a Crime Fraud Exception to the Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege

This Note argues against the adoption of a crime fraud exception to the federal psychotherapist-patient privilege. Part I argues that the restrictive legal elements of the privilege adequately exclude fraudulent or criminal statements from protection. Part II addresses the needed distinction between the dangerous patient exception and the crime fraud exception to the psychotherapist-patient privilege and concludes that the adoption of a crime fraud exception would threaten a limited dangerous patient exception. Part III contends that the policies underlying the attorney-client and psychotherapist-patient privileges must be distinguished and do not merit a shared crime fraud exception. This Note concludes that careful examination and application of the elements of the psychotherapist-patient privilege will adequately protect “all rational means for ascertaining truth” in the courtroom, in consideration of the need for confidentiality in a psychotherapist-patient relationship.