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Connecticut Public Acts 1996

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House Bill No. 5544

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-63

AN ACT CONCERNING THE AVAILABILITY OF TRIAL TRANSCRIPTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 54-142a of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 95-133, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Whenever in any criminal case, on or after October 1, 1969, the accused, by a final judgment, is found not guilty of the charge or the charge is dismissed, all police and court records and records of any state's attorney pertaining to such charge shall be erased upon the expiration of the time to file a writ of error or take an appeal, if an appeal is not taken, or upon final determination of the appeal sustaining a finding of not guilty or a dismissal, if an appeal is taken. Nothing in this subsection shall require the erasure of any record pertaining to a charge for which the defendant was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect or guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or defect.

(b) Whenever in any criminal case prior to October 1, 1969, the accused, by a final judgment, was found not guilty of the charge or the charge was dismissed, all police and court records and records of the state's or prosecuting attorney or the prosecuting grand juror pertaining to such charge shall be erased by operation of law and the clerk or any person charged with the retention and control of such records shall not disclose to anyone their existence or any information pertaining to any charge so erased; provided nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the arrested person or any one of his heirs from filing a petition for erasure with the court granting such not guilty judgment or dismissal, or, where the matter had been before a municipal court, a trial justice, the Circuit Court or the Court of Common Pleas with the records center of the Judicial Department and thereupon all police and court records and records of the state's attorney, prosecuting attorney or prosecuting grand juror pertaining to such charge shall be erased. Nothing in this subsection shall require the erasure of any record pertaining to a charge for which the defendant was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

(c) Whenever any charge in a criminal case has been nolled in the Superior Court, or in the Court of Common Pleas, if at least thirteen months have elapsed since such nolle, all police and court records and records of the state's or prosecuting attorney or the prosecuting grand juror pertaining to such charge shall be erased. However, in cases of nolles entered in the Superior Court, Court of Common Pleas, Circuit Court, municipal court or by a justice of the peace prior to April 1, 1972, such records shall be deemed erased by operation of law and the clerk or the person charged with the retention and control of such records shall not disclose to anyone their existence or any information pertaining to any charge so erased, provided nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the arrested person or any one of his heirs from filing a petition to the court or to the records center of the Judicial Department, as the case may be, to have such records erased, in which case such records shall be erased. Whenever any charge in a criminal case has been continued at the request of the prosecuting attorney, and a period of thirteen months has elapsed since the granting of such continuance during which period there has been no prosecution or other disposition of the matter, the charge shall be construed to have been nolled as of the date of termination of such thirteen-month period and such erasure may thereafter be effected or a petition filed therefor, as the case may be, as provided in this subsection for nolled cases.

(d) Whenever prior to October 1, 1974, any person who has been convicted of an offense in any court of this state has received an absolute pardon for such offense, such person or any one of his heirs may, at any time subsequent to such pardon, file a petition with the superior court at the location in which such conviction was effected, or with the superior court at the location having custody of the records of such conviction or with the records center of the Judicial Department if such conviction was in the Court of Common Pleas, Circuit Court, municipal court or by a trial justice court, for an order of erasure, and the Superior Court or records center of the Judicial Department shall direct all police and court records and records of the state's or prosecuting attorney pertaining to such case to be erased. Whenever such absolute pardon was received on or after October 1, 1974, such records shall be erased.

(e) The clerk of the court or any person charged with retention and control of such records in the records center of the judicial department or any law enforcement agency having information contained in such erased records shall not disclose to anyone, except the subject of the record, upon submission pursuant to guidelines prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator of satisfactory proof of the subject's identity, information pertaining to any charge erased under any provision of this section and such clerk or person charged with the retention and control of such records shall forward a notice of such erasure to any law enforcement agency to which he knows information concerning the arrest has been disseminated and such disseminated information shall be erased from the records of such law enforcement agency. Such clerk or such person, as the case may be, shall provide adequate security measures to safeguard against unauthorized access to or dissemination of such records or upon the request of the accused cause the actual physical destruction of such records. No fee shall be charged in any court with respect to any petition under this section. Any person who shall have been the subject of such an erasure shall be deemed to have never been arrested within the meaning of the general statutes with respect to the proceedings so erased and may so swear under oath.

(f) Upon motion properly brought, the court or a judge thereof, if such court is not in session, may order disclosure of such records (1) to a defendant in an action for false arrest arising out of the proceedings so erased or (2) to the prosecuting attorney and defense counsel in connection with any perjury charges which the prosecutor alleges may have arisen from the testimony elicited during the trial. Such disclosure of such records is subject also to any records destruction program pursuant to which the records may have been destroyed. The jury charge in connection with erased offenses may be ordered by the judge for use by the judiciary, provided the names of the accused and the witnesses are omitted therefrom.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any police or court records or the records of any state's attorney or prosecuting attorney with respect to any information or indictment containing more than one count, if the accused was convicted upon one or more counts of such information or indictment. Such information or indictment may be disclosed and no part of such information or indictment shall be erased.

(h) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "COURT RECORDS" SHALL NOT INCLUDE A RECORD OR TRANSCRIPT OF THE PROCEEDINGS MADE OR PREPARED BY AN OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER, ASSISTANT COURT REPORTER OR MONITOR.

Approved May 7, 1996. Effective October 1, 1996.

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