Hartford Courant Co., LLC v. Carroll, No. 20-2744 (2d Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Hartford and enjoining defendants, who are administrators and clerks at the Connecticut Superior Court, from enforcing a Connecticut statute that mandates automatic sealing of all judicial records and closure to the public of all court proceedings in criminal prosecutions of juvenile defendants transferred to the regular criminal docket.
The court held that Public Act Number 19-187 is unconstitutional. The court concluded that the Courant has a qualified First Amendment right of access to criminal prosecutions of juveniles in regular criminal court. The court agreed with the district court that, for cases in criminal court, even those involving juvenile defendants, the "place and process" have historically been open to the public. Furthermore, public access plays a significant positive role in the functioning of the particular process in question. The court also concluded that the Act infringes on that right because it is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. Finally, the court concluded that the Courant has shown that all four requirements for a preliminary injunction have been met.