Prosecutors Say Order to Release 911 Tapes from Newtown Could Aid Criminals

by Categorized: First Amendment, Government, Law Enforcement, Legal Affairs, Media, Public Safety, Transparency/FOI Date:

State prosecutors and transparency advocates will square off next week as the state Freedom of Information Commission considers a proposed order to release tapes of 911 calls made during the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

In advance of the Sept. 25 hearing, Danbury States Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III has filed a brief saying the proposed order misinterprets state law and, if upheld, could be a boon to criminals trying to figure out what evidence investigators have collected.

Sedensky argues that the tapes are protected from disclosure by laws related to investigations of child abuse, and by exemptions to the state’s Freedom of Information Act covering records to be used in a future law-enforcement action. Kathleen K. Ross, a lawyer with the Freedom of Information Commission, rejected those arguments during a hearing in June.

The full commission typically upholds the decisions of its hearing officers, but Sedensky will have an opportunity next Wednesday to try to persuade them to reject Ross’s proposed order. Either way, the matter may not be settled for a while. Whoever loses next Wednesday can appeal the commission’s order to Superior Court.

Our full story on Sedensky’s legal brief is here. And the full document can be read below.

Download (PDF, 1.31MB)

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3 thoughts on “Prosecutors Say Order to Release 911 Tapes from Newtown Could Aid Criminals

  1. DrHunterSThompson

    Well, it seems to this informed Gonzo journalist that Hearing Officer Ross just may be right. I don’t see the FOIC tearing into her well crafted administrative rambling, as unfortunate as that may be. Once it hits the courts the secrecy advocates may find a sympathetic ear, but perhaps not. The act of unspeakable violence is not near the traditional notion of “child abuse” and the idea that “prospective law enforcement action” could be jeopardized by release of the tapes seems a bit far-fetched.

    Twist up a fatty and come on down! It’s gonna be a clash of good n’evil, secrecy n’open government, taste n’distaste, gonzo n’correctness…….yehaw!


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