Task Force on Victim's Privacy and the Public's Right to Know

CT-N Connecticut Network

A Connecticut victim’s rights commission wants state legislators to pass a law that gives crime victims the right to be informed about details of court proceedings.

The Victims' Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission agreed to the recommendation on Wednesday.

The new law was recommended by James Clark, the executive director of the Victims' Rights Center of Connecticut. The new law is needed because prosecutors often fail to notify crime victims about court proceedings in a timely manner, preventing them from exercising their right to attend court proceedings, he said.

Some Connecticut lawmakers say they are struggling over whether to support proposed legislation that would limit public access to 911 audio tapes. The legislation would also limit access to crime scene photos and law enforcement audio recordings in homicide cases. However, the proposal is less restrictive than a law that was passed last year in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Supporters and opponents of the proposal made their case to lawmakers on Monday.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Two family members of Newtown School Shooting victims testified on Wednesday before a Connecticut task force that's exploring the public's right to information versus a victim's right to privacy following a homicide. Both family members urged the task force not to recommend releasing 911 audio tapes from the December 14th shooting.  

Meanwhile, Danbury's State's Attorney  Stephen Sedensky III  asked a Connecticut court on Wednesday to stay an order form the Freedom of Information Commission to release the 911 recordings.

A Connecticut task force reviewing ways to balance victims' privacy with the state's open records law held its third public hearing in Hartford on Wednesday.

Representatives of the Media urged the task force not to clamp down on information related to crime scenes, saying the public has a right to know what happened and how police handle incidents.