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Connecticut Public Records

Connecticut Public Records

Accessing public records varies from state to state. There different procedures, laws and information available to the public. It can be a quagmire trying jump through all the bureaucratic red tape to find the information you are looking for. In some cases, the information is at your fingertips, in others you must submit a written request and apply in person to view the records. Some of the most common records accessed are criminal records including arrests and convictions, court records, and vital statistics. There are many reasons to access public records, from doing background checks on future employees or presenting proof of death to credit card companies and other government agencies.

Connecticut Public Records Laws

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, Americans have access to many records that were once kept carefully guarded under lock and key. It literally took an act of congress to make several vital statistics and criminal records available to anyone. Groups like the National Freedom of Information Coalition protect our ability to access certain records available to the public under the FOIA. The Connecticut FOIA that was enacted in 1975, insures the state’s residents’ ability to attend public meetings and to access public information such as any information that has an effect on the public, like real estate sales, business permit applications, court rulings, Zoning ordinances and other public business.

Exclusions include:

  • Information in ongoing law enforcement investigations
  • Any information whose disclosure would cause personal injury, such as personal information and medical records
  • Information pertaining to ongoing negotiations
  • tests related to obtaining a license
  • Freely divulged financial information
  • Statements of worth
  • Trade secrets
  • Personal information including lists of students
  • Adoption records
  • Collective bargaining information
  • Petitions
  • Complaints
  • Information that could compromise the security of correctional institutions, public infrastructure, any person or telecommunications
  • Addresses of individuals in the address confidentiality program

Background Checks in Connecticut

Background checks in Connecticut can be obtained using many commercial “gotcha sites” that promise free information only to lead the user to a page requesting credit card information and membership fees. The official issuer of background information is the State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety Division of State Police Bureau of Identification using an official request form. Information disclosed can be searched either by name or fingerprint. There is a $50 fee for the search, and disclosures apply. In Connecticut, this information will include criminal history current as of the date of request.  The Connecticut Judicial Law Libraries offers more complete information regarding use of criminal records. Records that have been granted erasure will not be included in the reports. Likewise, information regarding juvenile convictions are not made available to the public.

Connecticut Inmate and Jail Records

Anyone can search inmate and jail records for free through the Connecticut State Department of Corrections. This online search will produce records of anyone that is currently incarcerated, including persons awaiting trial. Therefore, even though someone may be housed in the jail, they are not to presumed guilty until after trial. Release dates are subject to change depending on inmate behavior credits earned.

Connecticut Court Records

Most court proceeding records are available to the public, the notable exception being cases involving juveniles and lawsuits that have a nondisclosure clause as part of the settlement. In Connecticut the public can access court records by navigating to the public tab on the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website.  Here the public has access to arrest warrants, child support, court rules and standing orders, court support services, decisions and opinions, court service centers, law libraries and other helpful services to help the public find the answer to their questions.

Connecticut Vital Statistics

The Department of Public Health maintains all of Connecticut’s vital statistics that include birth records, death records, fetal death records, marriages, divorces, and civil unions that have happened within the state’s boundaries. Genealogical records are available on the DPH’s website and can be accessed for medical or scientific research. In order to access these records, the requester must file proof that records accessed will be used for those purposes and only those purposes. Records available online date back to 1992. Birth records are confidential and will only be issued under certain circumstances. Additional vital statistics date back to July 1, 1897 and can be accessed following special procedures. These records can be accessed following directions on the Department of Health’s website found here. There are fees associated with accessing these records.

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