Task Force on Privacy and the Public's Right to Know Meets, Votes on Recommendations

Dec 17, 2013

Garvin Ambrose, State Victim Advocate, addresses the task force Tuesday morning.
Credit CT-N
Jim Smith, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information.
Credit CT-N

Connecticut's Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public's Right to Know met for most of the day on Tuesday to piece together recommendations for the General Assembly in advance of a January 1 deadline. 

The task force voted 14-3 on a recommendation to allow the public to privately review certain crime scene photos, 911 audio tapes, and other information related to homicides in Connecticut. 

Such information was exempted earlier this year from disclosure under the state's Freedom of Information Act. The task force's recommendation now includes video and internal police communications. The public would be allowed to go through a process in order to obtain copies and prove they have a legitimate reason to acquire the information.

Jim Smith, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, opposed the recommendation, saying it would make it easier for the government to turn down requests for information. At the November meeting of the task force, Smith spoke about freedom of the press. According to the minutes, he invoked the words of Thomas Jefferson, "saying that feelings of traumatized families should not dictate public policy. He pointed to several cases where information was critical to solving the cases. He emphasized that you don't solve problems by hiding information."

Watch the lengthy meeting below:

This report contains information from The Associated Press.