A lawyer for Nassau County says he will leave it to a judge to decide whether to turn over the autopsy report of an ex-convict police say initiated a hostage standoff that left both him and a Hofstra student dead in May.
But he says if the judge does release the report, he would like the dead man's family to be notified first.
In legal papers, a lawyer for Nassau's chief medical examiner, Tamara Bloom, has asked a judge to require the family of Andrea Rebello, 21, of Tarrytown -- the Hofstra University student killed May 17 in the shooting -- to notify hostage-taker Dalton Smith's mother before releasing his autopsy report to them.
"I think it's only fair," County Attorney John Ciampoli said. "My duty is to protect the county from catching a lawsuit because we violated someone's right to privacy."
State Supreme Court Justice Norman Janowitz will decide the issue.
Lawyers representing Rebello's family filed documents seeking Smith's autopsy report last month. Both Rebello and Smith were fatally shot by Officer Nikolas Budimlic, a 12-year veteran of the Nassau police force.
"It is important to get the complete autopsy file of Dalton Smith to determine the manner and trajectory of the bullets entering the bodies, the photographs depicting the size and shape of the bullet wounds, the X-rays, etc., as all such information will aid a forensic pathologist in coming to a conclusion of how the incident occurred," the family's court filings state.
They have said in court papers they intend to sue Nassau for "wrongful death, civil rights and negligence actions."
Rebello family lawyer David Roth of Manhattan said the request for the report complied with the law and there is no requirement to notify Smith's family.
Budimlic fired eight rounds after confronting Smith, 30, as the Hempstead man held Rebello, police said.
Smith had walked through an unlocked door into the California Avenue rental home Rebello shared with her twin sister and two others, then demanded money and jewelry, police said. He ordered a female resident to go to an ATM. While at the bank, she called 911.