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Connecticut Trial Courts Lack Power to Unseal Records

Connecticut’s Supreme Court held that a trial court in an administrative appeal, which does not have continuing jurisdiction over cases where sealing orders were issued and does not have custody of or control over the sealed docket sheets, does not have the power to overturn those sealing orders. The Court held the proper remedy is to file a motion contesting the sealing with the court that entered the sealing order.

Vincent Valvo and the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information filed requests for certain docket sheets under the Freedom of Information Act. The Freedom of Information Commission dismissed the complaint that challenged denial of the docket sheets on grounds it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the docket sheets were not subject to the act since they were records of adjudicative matters, not records of an administrative function.

While the appeal was pending, the judicial branch reviewed certain sealed cases and unsealed all but five of the cases Valvo sought. The Office of Chief Court Administrator said it did not have authority to unseal the orders. The Supreme Court agreed and affirmed the Commission’s ruling. See: Valvo v. Freedom of Information Commission, SC18283, 294 Conn. 534 (2010).

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Related legal case

Valvo v. Freedom of Information Commission