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In re Grand Jury Investigation by Curran - 19 Conn. App. 230, 561 A.2d 974 (1989)

Rule:

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47g(a) (Rev. to 1987), as amended by 1987 Conn. Acts 87-350, § 5, provides that, within 60 days of the conclusion of the investigation, the investigatory grand jury conducting such investigation shall file its finding with the court of the judicial district designated pursuant to subsection (a) of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-47d, and shall file a copy with the State's attorney. Such finding shall be sealed and state whether or not there is probable cause.

Facts:

The petitioner, a managing editor of The Hartford Courant, filed an application seeking disclosure of the report, findings, and record of an investigatory grand jury that had been appointed to investigate the circumstances of the recusal of a Superior Court judge in a matter involving a state police informant and his attorney. The petitioner's application was filed with a panel of three judges responsible, pursuant to General Statutes § 54-47g(a), for determining whether the disclosure of a grand jury investigation's findings and record is in the public interest. The petitioner expressly requested a hearing on his application in order to meet any burden necessary to justify an order of disclosure. However, petitioner's request for disclosure was denied by the panel without a hearing and without a memorandum of decision indicating the basis of the denial. The petitioner appealed, claiming that under the due process clauses of the constitutions of the United States and Connecticut, he was entitled to a hearing on his request for disclosure and that the panel erred in denying his application without such a hearing. 

Issue:

Was the petitioner entitled to a hearing to determine whether the disclosure of the findings and record of a grand jury investigation is in the public interest?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

Noting that the statute authorized disclosure if an applicant showed that disclosure was in the public interest, the appellate court held that the petitioner was entitled to a hearing at which he might attempt to satisfy his statutory burden of proving that disclosure was in the public interest. Accordingly, the appellate court concluded that it was error to deny petitioner’s application without a hearing.

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