Topic:
CRIMINAL RECORDS; COURT RECORDS; CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION; COURT PROCEDURE;
Location:
CRIMINAL RECORDS; JUDICIAL PROCEDURE;

OLR Research Report


June 14, 2006

 

2006-R-0368

PUBLIC ACCESS TO COURT PROCEEDINGS AND RECORDS

By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney

You asked for state laws that permit or require courts to prohibit public access to court records or proceedings.

SUMMARY

We found 25 statutes that either permit or mandate that court records or proceedings be treated confidentially, in contrast to the state's freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that requires public records and proceedings to be available to the public. This report consists of a list of the statutory provisions and a brief description.

The list does not include statutes that (1) require or permit records to be treated confidentially by all agencies, including courts (e.g., names and addresses of sexual assault victims) or (2) prescribe confidentiality only pursuant to a court order.

We include in the list court records or proceedings that may be open only to specified people or for specified purposes, but not to the general public (e.g., youth offender proceedings are open to crime victims but not the general public).

To compile this list we searched the Connecticut General Statutes Revised to 2005, the 2006 Supplement to the General Statutes, and the 2006 public acts for the terms “disclosure” and “confidential” (and their derivatives), “1-210,” “Chapter 3,” and “freedom of information” (internal statutory references to the FOIA), and “public record.”

Table 1 shows the records or proceedings that courts must keep confidential, including limited permissible disclosures, categorized by type.

Table 1: Court Records and Proceedings That Must Be Kept Confidential

Criminal Records

CGS 54-82t

Any record that the chief state's attorney or a state's attorney reasonably believes would disclose the identity or location of a witness participating in the witness protection program.

54-142a, c, k, and m

Nonconviction or erased criminal records

Juvenile or Youth Records or Proceedings

46b-122

Juvenile proceedings

46b-124

Records of juvenile matters

46b-146

Erased juvenile delinquency records or records of a member of a family with service needs

54-76h

Youthful offender (YO) proceedings

54-76l

Records of youths adjudged YO

54-76o

Erased YO records

Probate

17a-500

Records of cases of people with psychiatric disabilities

45a-650

Medical records filed with the probate court for consideration in any hearing for involuntary representation (appointment of a conservator)

45a-654

Any physician's record filed with the court when considering the appointment of a temporary conservator

45a-660

Any physician's record filed with the court when considering the termination of conservatorship

Family Matters

45a-751b

Identifying information in termination of parental rights cases without consent

45a-773

Statement that physicians file with probate court after they perform artificial insemination and a child is born

45a-754

Probate court records on termination of parental rights cases, removal of parents as guardians, appointment of statutory parents, and adoption matters

46b-115s

Identifying information in a child custody case that would allegedly jeopardize the health, safety, or liberty of a party to, or child involved in, the proceedings

Grand Jury

54-45a

Grand Jury deliberations

54-47e

Orders authorizing a grand jury investigation and the actual investigation

54-47g

The results of a grand jury investigation that are not included in the record of the investigation that submitted to the court

Other

38a-913

Court proceedings and judicial reviews under the Model Insurers Rehabilitation and Liquidation Act against a delinquent insurer

51-232

Contents of a completed juror questionnaire

54-41j

Applications and orders for wiretaps and electronic surveillance

SNE:ts