South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland has dismissed the criminal case against a licensed addiction counselor of Heartview Foundation in Bismarck.
Kiki Schatz was charged with misdemeanor hindering law enforcement for refusing police entry in the vestibule of Heartview's opioid treatment clinic to arrest a man who had arrived for treatment. She invoked Part 2 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which provides confidentiality for patients seeking treatment for addiction.
Feland dismissed the case Tuesday, days before a pretrial conference.
Schatz's attorney, Tom Dickson, said he was pleased with the outcome.
"We're certainly gratified by the judge's ruling," Dickson said. "Substance abuse is a serious issue in North Dakota. We want to encourage people to seek treatment, and we don't want to shame them when they do seek treatment, and they do have a right to confidentiality just like everybody else, and the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution respects that right."
Kurt Snyder, Heartview Foundation's executive director, has said he supports Schatz and the invocation of 42 CFR for confidentiality of addiction patients.
“It’s hard to come through the doors,” Snyder previously said.
Dickson said the case could be "a learning tool" for law enforcement.
Bismarck Police Deputy Chief Randy Ziegler previously said he met with Snyder after the events at Heartview to discuss what happened. He also said he subsequently sent a memo to patrol officers and shift commanders reinforcing a strong relationship with Heartview and referencing 42 CFR.
“We have a good relationship with Heartview. We want to keep that,” Ziegler previously told the Tribune.