Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about the public's right to request autopsy reports from coroners.

A Sumter newspaper requested the autopsy report for a man shot by police in September 2010. Sumter Coroner Harvin Bullock denied the request and said the report was a medical record protected under HIPPA laws.

"The issue is whether or not an autopsy report is a medical record," said attorney Jay Bender, who represents the Sumter paper and WLTX.

Bender argued to justices that the autopsy report is in fact an investigative report and should therefor be releasedunder Freedom of Information Act disclosure laws.

"I think for the public to have faith in their institutions, the police, the courts, the coroner, the best way to have faith is to look at the documents, look at the findings," Bender said.

The paper did end up getting a version of an autopsy through a request to SLED, who released the autopsy report as an investigative report.

The high court will hand down it's opinion in the coming weeks.

"The Supreme Court of South Carolina has said repeatedly that the Freedom of Information Act exists to stop secret government activity," Bender said. "When somebody is killed by your representatives,by your law enforcement representatives,the public is entitled to know were they acting appropriately."

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