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Governor Considering Legislation Prompted By Concerns Over Autopsies In Ventura County

Legislation inspired by concern that autopsies were being performed by Ventura County staff members not properly accredited to conduct them has inspired a proposed new state law which is now on the governor’s desk for his consideration.

SB 1189 would require that forensic autopsies in California can only be conducted by a licensed physician, or surgeon. Trained county personnel under the supervision of a coroner, or physician could take specific sample for criminal investigations. The bill passed by the state legislature was co-authored by Democratic State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara.

It comes after a controversy over the way some autopsies were conducted by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s office, a dispute which led to the dismissal of County Medical Examiner Dr. Jon Smith last year.