As introduced, this bill threatens government transparency and accountability. The ACLU of Connecticut opposes Senate Bill 970, An Act Concerning the Confidentiality of Evidence Seized in a Criminal Investigation, in its original form. We encourage the legislature to change this bill by amending it to instead become a vehicle to close the civil asset forfeiture loophole. We strongly urge the legislature to oppose Senate Bill 970 in its original form and replace its provisions with language to close the civil asset forfeiture loophole to protect the people of Connecticut.
In its original form, this bill would exempt from disclosure critical evidence in connection with crimes committed by anyone, including crimes committed by law enforcement officers themselves. It has historically been incredibly difficult for the public to access evidence in a criminal investigation of a police officer, and this bill would further exacerbate the issue of transparency and accountability when it comes to physical harm, and even death, at the hands of those who are charged with our protection.