Chief Justice William J. Sullivan
today announced that a group of judges he asked to review the practice
of sealing files has unanimously agreed that the current practice of
maintaining secret files must be discontinued.
The Chief Justice said, "The
interests of justice sometime require that a judge seal a file or
specific documents within. However, I agree with the group of judges
that secret files may undermine public trust and confidence in our state
courts, something that we have worked hard to strengthen over the past
several years and will continue to do."
After consulting with the judges,
Chief Justice Sullivan and Judge Joseph H. Pellegrino, Chief Court
Administrator, decided that the rules governing Connecticut's courts
should be amended to eliminate the practice of maintaining secret files
and to provide the judiciary with more specific criteria for sealing
cases. Therefore, the Chief Justice and Judge Pellegrino have referred
these matters to the Rules Committee of the Superior Court. This
Committee will study the proposed changes and make recommendations to
the Judges of the Superior Court at their annual meeting in June.
"The court system exists for the
benefit of the citizens it serves and is the cornerstone of our
democracy. As such, the judiciary has the obligation to ensure that the
administration of justice occurs in an open forum, unless there is an
extraordinarily compelling reason to do otherwise," Chief Justice