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Connecticut Legislators Vote To Not Release Sandy Hook Evidence Photos

Police officers stood outside the Sandy Hook Elementary School after the tragedy that took the lives of 20 children and six adults in the school.
Police officers stood outside the Sandy Hook Elementary School after the tragedy that took the lives of 20 children and six adults in the school. Photo Credit: Daily Voice File Photo

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. - An early morning vote by the Connecticut House of Representatives means that the way Freedom of Information Act requests are filled in the state will be changed, legislators said.

The bill began as a way to keep information private from the deadly shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December.  

"This is a difficult issue, requiring all of us to balance deeply held beliefs and important public policy values. I commend the legislators on coming to an agreement that respects the privacy of grieving families," said Gov. Dannel Malloy in a statement.

The bill, passed the Senate in a vote of 33-2 shortly after 1:30 a.m. The House of Representatives then passed it a half hour later in a vote of 130-2.

But the bill will not only affect the release of evidence photos from the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, but also the release of any and all homicide photos. 

"Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state, or municipal governmental agency consisting of a photograph, film, video or digital or other visual image depicting the victim of a homicide, to the extent that such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the victim or the victim's surviving family members," a new amendment to the bill reads.

Another amendment approved early Wednesday said no law enforcement agency would be required to disclose a portion of an audio tape or recording where someone is describing the condition of a homicide victim, except an emergency 911 call or call made for assistance made by a member of the public to a law enforcement agency.

"My goal with this legislation was to provide some measure of protection for the families affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But the fact is, all families have a right to grieve in private. Those who lose loved ones to violence have a right to protect themselves against further anguish," Malloy said.

The bill, if signed by the governor, would go into affect in October.

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