OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6750

AN ACT EXPANDING THE REQUIREMENT FOR DISCLOSURE OF ARREST RECORDS DURING A PENDING PROSECUTION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.

SUMMARY:

This bill expands law enforcement agencies' disclosure obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records relating to a person's arrest. By law, when a person is arrested, a law enforcement agency must disclose the “record of the arrest” under FOIA. The record consists of (1) the arrestee's name and address; date, time, and place of the arrest; and offense for which the person was arrested (i.e., “blotter information”) and (2) at least one additional report designated by the agency. The report may be the arrest report, incident report, news release, or other similar report of the arrest.

The bill requires that any other record pertaining to a person's arrest be disclosed under FOIA unless it is exempt from disclosure under one of FOIA's eight law enforcement records exemptions. It prohibits the use of other FOIA exemptions for these records. The disclosure requirement applies regardless of any pending prosecution (see BACKGROUND).

The bill also requires unredacted disclosure of the one additional report designated as part of the “record of the arrest.” However, any additional report not designated for release may be redacted in accordance with FOIA's law enforcement records exemptions. For example, if the law enforcement agency designates a press release as the additional report, the agency could redact the other reports (e.g., the arrest report or incident report) in accordance with the law enforcement records exemptions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

BACKGROUND

Law Enforcement Records Exemption

FOIA exempts law enforcement records from disclosure if they were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime and disclosure would not be in the public interest because it would reveal:

1. the identity of informants or witnesses not otherwise known and whose safety would be endangered or who would be subject to threat or intimidation if their identity was made known;

2. the identity of witnesses who are minors;

3. witnesses' signed statements;

4. information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to the action;

5. investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the general public;

6. arrest records of a juvenile, including any associated investigatory files;

7. the name and address of the victim of (a) sexual assault or (b) risk of injury to a minor, or of an attempt thereof; or

8. uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction (CGS 1-210(b)(3)).

Pending Prosecution

In Commissioner of Public Safety v. Freedom of Information Commission, 312 Conn. 513 (2014), the Connecticut Supreme Court held that, during a pending prosecution, only the “blotter information” and one additional report (see above) are subject to disclosure by law enforcement agencies under FOIA.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

10

Nay

5

(03/30/2015)