Judge lifts order barring legal publication from publishing story; info already aired by legal blog
A Connecticut judge has lifted his own order barring the Connecticut Law Tribune from publishing a story about a child custody case after a hearing in which he noted that other publications had already posted a sealed document.
Judge Stephen Frazzini of New Britain vacated his order banning publication of the story on Wednesday, report the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Law Tribune (sub. req.). During the hearing, he had expressed frustration that a sealed document that was the focus of the Law Tribune article was on other websites, including a website associated with the Washington Post.
Frazzini appeared to be referencing this post by the Volokh Conspiracy, which linked to a habeas petition by a father who contested the custody of his children by the Department of Children and Families.
The document was public when it was filed, but it was later sealed and the case transferred to juvenile court, where judges have discretion under a state law to bar the news media from disclosing information that would identify a child. Writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, University of California at Los Angeles law professor Eugene Volokh said the judge’s ban on publication was very likely a First Amendment violation.
The Connecticut Supreme Court had agreed to hear the Law Tribune’s appeal in the case. Late Wednesday the court ordered briefs on whether the appeal should be dismissed as moot.