October 7, 2003 98-R-0383
FROM: George Coppolo, Chief Attorney
RE: Accelerated Rehabilitation—Conditions of Probation
You asked whether the public has the right to know the conditions imposed by the court on a person granted accelerated rehabilitation.
The general statutes appear to give members of the public the right to learn about conditions imposed by the court on a defendant granted accelerated rehabilitation (AR) status during the period he is in the program. This information should be available at the clerk's office of the court that handled the case or from the Office of Adult Probation (OAP). However, a person who satisfactorily completes his AR program has his record erased. Once erased the records, including the probation conditions, are no longer available to the public.
The AR program is a pretrial diversion program for people accused of most crimes or motor vehicle violations. People accused of class A or B felonies, driving under the influence, and certain other serious offenses are not eligible. Those accused of a class C felony are only eligible for “good cause.” The program is unavailable for people who previously have been convicted of a crime or certain motor vehicle violations, or were previously given youthful offender status. A person can only be in the AR program once. Another condition of granting AR is that the court believes the defendant will probably not offend in the future. Otherwise the court has complete discretion as to whether or not to place someone on AR.
The AR program participants waive their right to a speedy trial. The court places them under the supervision of the Office of Adult Probation (OAP) for up to two years under whatever conditions it orders. If the defendant successfully completes the program the charges against him are dismissed by the court and his records are erased. If he violates a condition of the program, he is brought to trial on the original charges.
PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF AR CONDITIONS
CGS § 54-142g et seq. governs the duty of criminal justice agencies to disclose or keep confidential criminal information. The OAP is covered by this law (CGS § 54-142g(b)). CGS § 54-142k(a) requires the OAP, as well as other criminal justice agencies, to establish reasonable hours and places for the public to inspect “criminal history record information” which they hold. Criminal history information includes criminal justice agencies' notations of any events, or outcomes arising from arrests, releases, detentions including sentences and releases. Conditions imposed by the court would appear to fall within the meaning of events or outcomes arising from an arrest and release. Marty Lubson, an attorney with the Judicial Department, who specializes in probation issues, indicated that AR conditions appear to be covered by this law.
But once criminal records are erased, which is what happens when someone satisfactorily completes AR, the records become “nonconviction information” (CGS § 54-142g(e)). Nonconviction information is not available for public inspection. This information may only be released to the subject of the information or to someone he authorizes in writing to inspect it (CGS § 54-142k).