(a) Whenever in any criminal case, on or after October 1, 1969, the accused, by a final judgment, is found not guilty of the charge or the charge is dismissed, all police and court records and records of any state’s attorney pertaining to such charge shall be erased upon the expiration of the time to file a writ of error or take an appeal, if an appeal is not taken, or upon final determination of the appeal sustaining a finding of not guilty or a dismissal, if an appeal is taken. Nothing in this subsection shall require the erasure of any record pertaining to a charge for which the defendant was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect or guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or defect.

Terms Used In Connecticut General Statutes 54-142a

  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Court reporter: A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in court and produces a transcript of the proceedings upon request.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Habeas corpus: A writ that is usually used to bring a prisoner before the court to determine the legality of his imprisonment. It may also be used to bring a person in custody before the court to give testimony, or to be prosecuted.
  • Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
  • Juror: A person who is on the jury.
  • oath: shall include affirmations in cases where by law an affirmation may be used for an oath, and, in like cases, the word "swear" shall include the word "affirm". See Connecticut General Statutes 1-1
  • Reporter: Makes a record of court proceedings and prepares a transcript, and also publishes the court's opinions or decisions (in the courts of appeals).
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.

(b) Whenever in any criminal case prior to October 1, 1969, the accused, by a final judgment, was found not guilty of the charge or the charge was dismissed, all police and court records and records of the state’s or prosecuting attorney or the prosecuting grand juror pertaining to such charge shall be erased by operation of law and the clerk or any person charged with the retention and control of such records shall not disclose to anyone their existence or any information pertaining to any charge so erased; provided nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the arrested person or any one of his heirs from filing a petition for erasure with the court granting such not guilty judgment or dismissal, or, where the matter had been before a municipal court, a trial justice, the Circuit Court or the Court of Common Pleas with the records center of the Judicial Department and thereupon all police and court records and records of the state’s attorney, prosecuting attorney or prosecuting grand juror pertaining to such charge shall be erased. Nothing in this subsection shall require the erasure of any record pertaining to a charge for which the defendant was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

(c) (1) Whenever any charge in a criminal case has been nolled in the Superior Court, or in the Court of Common Pleas, if at least thirteen months have elapsed since such nolle, all police and court records and records of the state’s or prosecuting attorney or the prosecuting grand juror pertaining to such charge shall be erased, except that in cases of nolles entered in the Superior Court, Court of Common Pleas, Circuit Court, municipal court or by a justice of the peace prior to April 1, 1972, such records shall be deemed erased by operation of law and the clerk or the person charged with the retention and control of such records shall not disclose to anyone their existence or any information pertaining to any charge so erased, provided nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the arrested person or any one of his heirs from filing a petition to the court or to the records center of the Judicial Department, as the case may be, to have such records erased, in which case such records shall be erased.

(2) Whenever any charge in a criminal case has been continued at the request of the prosecuting attorney, and a period of thirteen months has elapsed since the granting of such continuance during which period there has been no prosecution or other disposition of the matter, the charge shall be nolled upon motion of the arrested person and such erasure may thereafter be effected or a petition filed therefor, as the case may be, as provided in this subsection for nolled cases.

(d) (1) Whenever prior to October 1, 1974, any person who has been convicted of an offense in any court of this state has received an absolute pardon for such offense, such person or any one of his heirs may, at any time subsequent to such pardon, file a petition with the superior court at the location in which such conviction was effected, or with the superior court at the location having custody of the records of such conviction or with the records center of the Judicial Department if such conviction was in the Court of Common Pleas, Circuit Court, municipal court or by a trial justice court, for an order of erasure, and the Superior Court or records center of the Judicial Department shall direct all police and court records and records of the state’s or prosecuting attorney pertaining to such case to be erased.

(2) Whenever such absolute pardon was received on or after October 1, 1974, such records shall be erased.

(e) (1) The clerk of the court or any person charged with retention and control of such records in the records center of the Judicial Department or any law enforcement agency having information contained in such erased records shall not disclose to anyone, except the subject of the record, upon submission pursuant to guidelines prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator of satisfactory proof of the subject’s identity, information pertaining to any charge erased under any provision of this section and such clerk or person charged with the retention and control of such records shall forward a notice of such erasure to any law enforcement agency to which he knows information concerning the arrest has been disseminated and such disseminated information shall be erased from the records of such law enforcement agency. Such clerk or such person, as the case may be, shall provide adequate security measures to safeguard against unauthorized access to or dissemination of such records or upon the request of the accused cause the actual physical destruction of such records, except that such clerk or such person shall not cause the actual physical destruction of such records until three years have elapsed from the date of the final disposition of the criminal case to which such records pertain.

(2) No fee shall be charged in any court with respect to any petition under this section.

(3) Any person who shall have been the subject of such an erasure shall be deemed to have never been arrested within the meaning of the general statutes with respect to the proceedings so erased and may so swear under oath.

(f) Upon motion properly brought, the court or a judge of such court, if such court is not in session, shall order disclosure of such records (1) to a defendant in an action for false arrest arising out of the proceedings so erased, or (2) to the prosecuting attorney and defense counsel in connection with any perjury charges which the prosecutor alleges may have arisen from the testimony elicited during the trial, or any false statement charges, or any proceeding held pursuant to § 53a-40b, or (3) counsel for the petitioner and the respondent in connection with any habeas corpus or other collateral civil action in which evidence pertaining to a nolled or dismissed criminal charge may become relevant. Such disclosure of such records is subject also to any records destruction program pursuant to which the records may have been destroyed. The jury charge in connection with erased offenses may be ordered by the judge for use by the judiciary, provided the names of the accused and the witnesses are omitted therefrom.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any police or court records or the records of any state’s attorney or prosecuting attorney with respect to any information or indictment containing more than one count (1) while the criminal case is pending, or (2) when the criminal case is disposed of unless and until all counts are entitled to erasure in accordance with the provisions of this section, except that when the criminal case is disposed of, electronic records or portions of electronic records released to the public that reference a charge that would otherwise be entitled to erasure under this section shall be erased in accordance with the provisions of this section. Nothing in this section shall require the erasure of any information contained in the registry of protective orders established pursuant to § 51-5c. For the purposes of this subsection, “electronic record” means any police or court record or the record of any state’s attorney or prosecuting attorney that is an electronic record, as defined in § 1-267, or a computer printout.

(h) For the purposes of this section, “court records” shall not include a record or transcript of the proceedings made or prepared by an official court reporter, assistant court reporter or monitor.