TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Historical Note

Scope and Content

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Container List

Series 1. Minutes of meetings 1951-1975

Series 2. Sound recordings 1956-1970

Series 3. Petitioner case files 1949-1975

Series 4. Administrative subject files 1949-1975

RG 157, Commission on Forfeited Rights

Inventory of Records

Finding aid prepared by Connecticut State Library staff.

Copyright © 2008 by the Connecticut State Library



Overview of the Collection

Repository: Connecticut State Library
Creator: Connecticut. Commission on Forfeited Rights
Title: Commission on Forfeited Rights records
Dates: 1949-1975
Quantity: 20.25 cubic feet
Abstract: Established in 1949 and abolished in 1975, the Commission on Forfeited Rights was charged with the responsibility of reviewing and acting upon petitions to restore forfeited electoral rights for those who had been released from prison.
Identification: RG157
Accession: 1984-112
Language: The records are in English.

Historical Note

Prior to 1949, the General Assembly reviewed all petitions for restoration of electoral rights forfeited by persons convicted of various offenses. The process was criticized because (a) the legislature met once every two years, (b) petitioners received undesirable publicity, and (c) the influx of petitions increased the assembly's workload. In 1948 voters approved an amendment to Section 3 of Article VI of the State Constitution and Article XVII of the amendments thereto, directing the General Assembly to "prescribe the offense on the conviction of which the privileges of an elector shall be forfeited and the conditions on which and methods by which rights" were to be restored. The General Assembly responded by creating the Commission on Forfeited Rights (Public Act 350, 1949 Supplement to the General Statutes, Revised 1959, Revised 1964, Sections 9-46 to 9-49).

The Commission consisted of three members, appointed in each odd-numbered year for two-year terms. The Governor appointed an elector, the Speaker of the House appointed a member of that body, and the President Pro Tempore appointed a member from the Senate. The law prohibited any active judges of the Supreme Court, any Superior Court or Court of Common Pleas or any State Referee from serving on the Commission.

The General Assembly directed that the Commission meet once quarterly at the county court house in Hartford or any other county court house in order to hold hearings on petitions. Meetings were closed to the public. Commission members also met with pre-release inmates at the Connecticut Correctional Institution at Somers to inform them of procedures for regaining voting rights. The Assembly empowered the Commission to summon witnesses, to issue subpoenas, to have access to records of prosecuting attorneys, to make its own regulations regarding hearings, and to make decisions from which there were no appeals.

Public Act 350 also made provisions for the process. Petitioners (or friends or family members) filed affidavits giving information about the conviction and sentence, a complete criminal history, and current address and occupation or employment of the petitioner. The Commission could not hear any petition until six months after release of the petitioner from a correctional facility or after discharge from parole or probation. The Commission could request that the State Police investigate and report on any petitioner prior to hearings. The law directed the Commission to inform petitioners, their friends and relatives, chief executives of towns, boroughs, or cities of residence, and state's attorneys or prosecuting attorneys of courts of original jurisdiction of impending hearings.

Majority vote was required by law for approval of any petition. The Commission informed appropriate local registrars of voters of every approved petition. Petitioners, where applications were rejected, had the right to rehearing six months after the original decision.

In 1945 the General Assembly considered a bill to abolish the Commission (see Public Act 354). Critics of the Commission, including the Secretary of the State charged that procedures deterred potential candidates from petitioning and cited figures showing that since 1949, the Commission had received only 2,100 petitions out of a potential total of 46,000. The legislature abolished the Commission effective June 30, 1975 and provided fro automatic restoration of voting rights upon submission of evidence to registrars of voters in the locality of a petitioner's residence at time of conviction of discharge from incarceration, probation, or parole.

See also the Commission on Forfeited Rights Brief Agency Description.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Content

Series 1. Minutes of Meetings include records of meetings, quarterly reports, reports about prison visits, press releases, newspaper clippings, transcript of hearing on P.A. 354. Series 2. Sound Recordings consist of five inch diameter discs, most of which are marked with names and dates of petitioners. The cover about half the number of petitions. They may be dictaphone recordings of hearings. However, equipment to hear recordings is not available. Series 3. Petitioners Case Files contain files of applicants whose petitions were approved. Files contain affidavit from petitioner, two letters of character references, hearing transcripts, correspondence relating to hearings, final decisions. Series 4. is Administrative Subject Files.

Return to the Table of Contents


Arrangement

Arranged into four series: Minutes that are arranged chronologically; Sound recordings are unarranged; Petitioner case files are arranged alphabetically by petitioner last name; Administrative subject files arranged alphabetically.

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Restrictions on Use

See the Reproduction and Publications of State Library Collections policy.

Return to the Table of Contents


Index Terms

Organizations:

Connecticut. Commission on Forfeited Rights

Subjects:

Connecticut. Commission on Forfeited Rights -- Records and correspondence
Ex-convicts -- Suffrage -- Connecticut
Political rights, Loss of -- Connecticut

Document Types:

Correspondence
Minutes
Reports
Sound recordings

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Provenance

The records of the Commission were discovered in May, 1984 in the State Capitol basement and were accessioned in that month into the State Archives. In the initial arrangement, useless financial records relating largely to application fees were weeded out.

Return to the Table of Contents


Container List

Series 1. Minutes of meetings, 1951-1975
Box
1951-1973 1
1973-1975 2
Series 2. Sound recordings, 1956-1970
Sound recordings, 1956-1970, approximately 600 discs 2
Unarranged.
Equipment to hear recordings is not available.
Series 3. Petitioner case files, 1949-1975
Abascol - Asplund 2a
Asuntino - Bicknell 3
Bike - Brundage 4
Brunetti - Cattaneo 5
Caulkins - Convertito 6
Cooper - DeFeo 7
DeFeo - Diorio 8
D"Iorio - Ersoff 9
Esposito - Frost 10
Funari - Grasso 11
Gnutti - Guzman 12
Hackley - Howell 13
Huard - Kartovsky 14
Karwosky - Kulenski 15
Kurz - Levine 16
Levitan - McLaughlin 17
McMinn - Mazziot 18
Medina - Morrone 19
Morse - Orsini 20
Pacileo - Picozzi 21
Pilato - Richardson 22
Riccitelli - Salit 23
Sampana - Shay 24
Shea - Speziale 25
Spiotti - Tetro 26
Theroux - Volinsky 27
Wacha - Winning 28
Wisnewski - Zygmont 29
Applications rejected
Applications rejected 30
Incomplete applications
Incomplete applications 31
Series 4. Administrative subject files, 1949-1975
Advice of allotment, 1970-1971 32
Aeronautics Dept. correspondence, 1959
Annual reports, 1953-1972
Applications sent out, 1956-1964
Applications sent out, 1964-1971 33
Attorney General correspondence, 1962-1974 34
Attorney General - Federal rulings and correspondence, 1954-1963
Attorney General - Rulings and opinions, 1955-1975
Auditor's reports, 1952-1970
Auditor's request fro confirmation, 1950-1971
Bill 27/1965 constitution
Bills - Forfeited Rights Commission, 1964-1975
Budget Division (correspondence), 1963-1970 35
Budget Report Governors, 1961-1972
Civil Defense, 1956-1968
Commission on Forfeited Rights
Commissioners appointments, 1955-1973
Comptroller's Dept. correspondence, 1968-1975
Comptroller's Dept. correspondence, 1968-1975 36
Contributions, 1956-1974
Copy of cases heard in New Haven conspiracy trial, 1952
Correspondence Consumer Protective Office, 1971
Correspondence - General, 1956-1957
Correspondence - General, 1957-1970 37
Correspondence - General, 1972-1975 38
Court Clerks, correspondence to deposits, recording fees
Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, Conn. - correspondence from
Finance and Control Dept., correspondence, 1956-1972
Finance & Control - Monthly personnel status report
Firearms Permit Examining Board
Forfeited Rights - formation of, 1947-1949 39
Farms - hearings in Absentia
Function & position
Governor's Office - communications from
Health, State Dept. of
Highway Department
Human Rights Commission
Insurance - coverage fro state employees
Legislative Commissioner - correspondence from - S.B. 288
Legislative Management correspondence
Miscellaneous
Notices sent to Commissioners, 1971-1975
Personnel 40
Personnel, 1974-1975
Public Act 350 - Establishment of Commission on Forfeited Rights and Public Act 382
Public Works Department
Purchasing Department
Recording fees, 1949-1951
Records management
Regain your right to vote
Registrar of Voters
Restoration of Rights - notices for
Retirement Commission
Secretary of State
State Employee Retirement Act
State of Conn. - constitution
State Prison, Wethersfield - correspondence
Surety Bond
Treasurer, Office of