Report approved, but Sandy Hook privacy fight could continue

By Ken Dixon

HARTFORD – A divided task force on victim’s privacy approved its final report on Friday, but even supporters of the recommendations promised to fight against them in the legislative process.

In a 15-2 vote, the Victim Privacy and the Public’s Right to Know Task Force’s report includes a recommendation to protect the identity of witnesses to violent or drug-related crimes.

The panel also wants to expand secrecy provisions established last by the General Assembly after the Sandy Hook School shooting that bans the public from seeing visual images of homicide victims and obtaining recordings of emergency responders at homicide scenes.

The proposals, developed during six months of meetings that ended this afternoon, would also keep secret recordings of police 911calls that are currently open to the public.

Susan O. Storey, the state’s chief public defender, said she voted for the report, but will fight recommendations if they reach the public hearing process in the upcoming legislation session, which starts February 5.

“They would be injurious to the justice system,” said Storey to the 17-member committee, where agency lawyers outnumbered journalists.

James H. Smith, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, warned that if approved, the recommendations represent a threat to the public at-large and journalists in particular.


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Wes Duplantier