CONNECTICUT — A federal District Court judge in Bridgeport has thrown out an order restraining The News-Times of Danbury from publishing a story about judicial proceedings involving two minors.
The decision came one week after a Superior Court judge in Danbury issued a temporary restraining order against the newspaper at the request of the children’s court-appointed attorney, who said the story would invade the minors’ privacy.
The trial court also had barred the paper from publishing “any portion of the record before the court in juvenile proceeding,” or any information about those proceedings.
But federal Judge T.F. Gilroy Daly said the injunction was unconstitutional under rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. On at least two occasions, the judge said, the court has held that the press may not be prevented from publishing information on otherwise confidential proceedings if the material was obtained legally.
Sharon Dornfeld, the children’s attorney, tried to have the case remanded to state Superior Court in Danbury, but Daly said the federal court had jurisdiction.
The News-Times managing editor Paul Steinmetz said the full story, which investigates how the state handles domestic problems, ran in their February 5 issue. (Elisabeth and Catherine H. v. Danbury Publishing Co.)
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.