Deborah J. Fuller
Judiciary Committee March 26, 2009
House Bill 6702, An Act
Concerning Public Access to Proceedings in Certain Juvenile Matters
Thank you for the opportunity to
submit written testimony, on behalf of the Judicial Branch, on House Bill
6702, An Act Concerning Public Access to Proceedings in Certain Juvenile
Matters. The Judicial Branch has some concerns with this bill.
While there may be a good public policy reason to
open certain juvenile proceedings to the public, this bill would not
accomplish that goal in a workable fashion. As drafted, it would place an
enormous burden on our juvenile courts and the judges who preside over those
cases. We believe that the issue of whether our juvenile courts should be
open needs further discussion and should be the subject of an in-depth
Some specific issues with the bill are:
- The standards for determining when a courtroom
should be closed do not comport with those that are in place in the
Practice Book for closing all other Connecticut court proceedings and
thus may present constitutional issues;
- The concept of a pilot program raises equal
- We could not implement a pilot program in two
of our busiest courts;
- Allowing access to juvenile records may
violate federal law and thus jeopardize federal funding.
We would respectfully suggest that further research
into what has happened in the other states that have opened their juvenile
courts, including an evaluation of outcomes, is needed before Connecticut
decides whether to make this significant change.
Thank you for your consideration.