Connecticut Can Keep Rap Sheets From Media
(CN) - Reporters covering a casino suicide are not entitled to "rap sheets" from a national crime center, the Connecticut Court of Appeals ruled.
David Collins of the New London Day and Alexander Wood of the Manchester Journal Inquirer independently asked the Department of Public Safety for printouts of criminal records that the department had obtained from the computerized database of the National Crime Information Center.
The suicide involved a man who fell to his death on June 4, 2008, at the MGM Grand Hotel at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Conn. The reporters received gambling records for the deceased, but they wanted to see whether he had a rap sheet.
Collins reported that the man killed himself by jumping off the parking garage.
The Freedom of Information Commission ruled that the reporters were entitled to the rap sheets under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.
A judge in New Britain dismissed the Department of Public Safety's challenge, but the Connecticut Appellate Court reversed on Aug. 13, stating the rap sheets were not for the media.
The National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact makes the computer database accessible to the Department of Public Safety, according to the nine-page ruling
"Although the compact does not contain an express prohibition on disclosure, the compact provides that the NCIC database is to be used for limited purposes authorized by law, such as background checks, and that NCIC records may only be used for official purposes," Judge Robert Beach Jr. wrote for the panel.