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EXTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION
231 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
(860) 757-2270, Fax (860) 757-2215

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 4, 2007
 

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Chief Justice announces plan to review level 2 cases 

Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers announced today that the Judicial Branch is reviewing family and civil cases that were sealed prior to July 1, 2003, the effective date of the rule changes regarding the sealing of a file. The Honorable Barbara M. Quinn, deputy chief court administrator and a former member of the Judicial Branch’s Public Access Task Force, is overseeing this process, which began as soon as Chief Justice Rogers was sworn in. Today, Judge Quinn approved a plan to review these cases.

This plan will be presented to the chief administrative judges and the administrative judges at a meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2007.

“Providing a mechanism for resolving the lingering public doubts regarding the validity of the sealing orders in these cases is one of my top priorities. This is a logical extension of the process begun by the Judicial Branch’s Public Access Task Force,” Chief Justice Rogers said.

“Openness and transparency are vital; however, the courts are required to consider whether the rights of the parties override the public’s interest in accessing such information,” Chief Justice Rogers said. “For that reason, all parties in these cases will be sent notice that this process is underway and they will be afforded the opportunity to be heard.” In addition, information regarding this process will be available on the Judicial Branch website at www.jud.ct.gov.

The plan calls for a review to determine: (1) whether the cases were properly designated as sealed; (2) whether the docket sheets, which set forth the chronology of the case, may be displayed on the Judicial Branch website; and (3) whether the motions and orders to seal the file may be made publicly available. At this point, there are approximately 500 of these cases statewide.

For more information, please contact the External Affairs Division at 860-757-2270.

 LEVEL 2 PLAN 

1.         A computer printout with the names and docket numbers of approximately 500 Level 2 cases has been created.

2.         The case files will be reviewed district by district with the largest districts’ files addressed first. The review will identify motions to seal, if any, and the order sealing the file, along with information regarding the names and addresses of all parties and counsel in the file.

3.         Notices will be sent to all parties and counsel indicating that the court, on its own motion, will be making docket sheets and motions to seal, along with any orders sealing a file, available to the public unless an objection is filed. If an objection is filed, a hearing will be held in the judicial district where the case was originally filed.

4.         Level 2 cases and any scheduled hearing dates will be posted on the Judicial Branch website. 

5.         It is anticipated that the first group of level 2 files will be reviewed during the last two weeks of May, with notices to be sent to all parties shortly. Hearings on objections to making these matters public will be held thereafter.
 

 

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