Military and State Law Face Off in Rape Case

Therapist Jennifer Bier has a warrant out for her arrest. Her crime — abiding by state law.

In a controversial Colorado case, the question is whether a military judge can order Bier to turn over records of confidential conversations she had with former Air Force Academy (search) cadet Jessica Brakey (search), who says she was raped by a classmate.

Randolph Air Force Base (search) Judge David Brash issued a warrant, telling federal marshals to "apprehend Jennifer Bier wherever she may be found in the United States." Brash's action came after he issued a subpoena for Bier to hand over the conversations in question.

Colorado law protects alleged rape victims' confidential records but military law says those records must be disclosed if they're important to the case.

"If therapists surrender records, then they are cracking the very foundation of the field. And I'm not willing to participate in that," Bier told FOX News.

Bier, a clinical social worker who is a civilian, said she would go to jail before she surrendered her records, which were requested for the June 22 court-martial of Lt. Joseph Harding (search), the man accused of raping Bier's patient.

"This is fascinating when two sovereign jurisdictions, if you will, the sovereign state of Colorado and the U.S. military, have a clash over the right of a victim," said Andrew Napolitano (search), FOX News senior judicial analyst.

Bier and her lawyer plan to challenge the warrant and hope a higher court will be able to clarify the overlapping military and state laws.

Military law trumps that of the state. What's unclear is whether military law can stand up to the federal courts.

An Air Force spokesman said the records are for the judge's eyes only and that "procedures are in place to protect the confidentiality of those records in a criminal proceeding."

Brakey's rape claim sparked dozens of women to come forward about sexual assault at the Air Force Academy in 2000. These women later reported that the school did not recognize their complaints. The scandal led to a change in leadership and policy at the university.

Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Carol McKinley.