He Lived Long And Prospered

Not chess Mr. Spock, poker.”

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015


Father Of The Champ!

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It is time once again for me to divert from my usual subject matter to give a shout out to my son, Ari, a senior at Hall High in West Hartford and winner of the 1600m race in yesterday’s state indoor track championships!  He opened the throttle in the last 50m to win the race in 4:19.84, nudging out Darien’s incredibly impressive Alex Ostberg by a tenth of a second.  It was an amazing race! (Fast forward to 1:25 on the video to watch the great finish.)


Yale Law School To Hold Freedom Of Information Boot Camp

Dear Readers,

As some of you may know, I have the great fortune to serve as a supervising attorney for the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.  The clinic will hold an FOI boot camp next Monday, February 23, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the law school.  Speakers will include David Sobel, senior counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Lisa Siegel, staff attorney for the Freedom of Information Commission.  The program is free!  For anyone interested in learning more about federal and state freedom of information laws, this will be a great program.

 


Let The Sun Shine: Pass Raised Bill 6750

The General Assembly held a public hearing last week on Raised Bill 6750, An Act Expanding The Requirement For Disclosure Of Arrest Records During A Pending Prosecution Under The Freedom Of Information Act. The bill seeks to overturn a Connecticut Supreme Court decision last year, Comm’r of Public Safety v. FOIC, which set aside the Freedom of Information Commission’s longstanding (20 years!) interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act concerning the release of arrest records. The Supreme Court decision was bad for government transparency, the proposed bill is good and the arguments against the bill are weak. The legislature should pass the bill and the governor should sign it.

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Legal Definitions Of The Day

Litigation Associate:  A young lawyer who transforms blank paper into a credible draft of a legal argument, only to be excoriated for failing to read the partner’s mind perfectly.

Litigation Partner: A senior lawyer who has forgotten that getting from a blank page to the first draft of anything is the hardest part of the job and who genuinely believes that every edit he makes dramatically improves, rather than simply changes, the associate’s draft.

 


The Governor’s “State Of Emergency” Powers

When natural and/or manmade disasters hit our state, we often hear governors declare a “state of emergency” and take certain actions pursuant to their “emergency powers.”  What are those powers and what is their legal source?

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Arsenic And Old Lace, Ctd.

During oral argument today in an interesting Freedom of Information Act case involving historical records about Amy Archer Gilligan, the long-deceased murderer who inspired the play and movie “Arsenic and Old Lace,” Justice Andrew McDonald asked an interesting question about how a person becomes a public figure. 

According to Hugh McQuaid’s story in ctnewsjunkie, Justice McDonald questioned the notion that a person can become a public figure (as that term is understood in the invasion of privacy exception to the FOIA) by having that status thrust upon them and whether that status, once acquired, can fade with the passage of time.  He seemed skeptical of the first notion and supportive of the second. 

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Arsenic And Old Lace . . . And Freedom Of Information?

The Connecticut Supreme Court will consider arguments tomorrow morning in a case concerning public access to historical records about Amy Archer Gilligan–the murderer who served as the inspiration for the 1944 movie (starring Cary Grant) and the 1941 play, “Arsenic and Old Lace.”  It turns out that Gilligan, who used arsenic to poison a resident in her nursing home, spent the years 1924 through 1962 confined to a Connecticut state mental institution, now Connecticut Valley Hospital.

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Bright Line Rules v. Facts And Circumstances: Further Thoughts On In Re: Cassandra C.

What was the real legal dispute in In re: Cassandra C.?  Yes, the specific question was whether a 17-year-old teenager could be forced against her will to undergo life-saving chemotherapy.  But, what was the real issue? 

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When Lawyers Advise Their Clients To Ignore The Law

Hartford Courant reporter Matt Kauffman has an excellent piece entitled “A Transparency Advocate’s Legislative Wish List.”  As the title suggest, the article contains a list of pro-open government measures that he hopes the General Assembly will consider and adopt this session.  I support every item on the list.

But making that supportive statement is not the purpose of this post.

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