The Hartford Courant is taking its case to Connecticut’s highest court, arguing it has the right under the Freedom of Information Act to see what is inside Adam Lanza’s notebook. The details are chilling and include what’s being described as a violent story he wrote as a child and a spread sheet of mass murderers with the number of people killed and weapons used.
Andrew Julien, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at the Courant, says these documents could contain warning signs that help the public going forward.
“They may contain red flags that could become part of a prevention strategy that could be used to prevent shootings like this from happening again,” Julien told News 8 outside of Supreme Court.Related Content: CT Supreme Court hears arguments on Newtown shooter’s belongings
The Freedom of Information Commission previously sided with the Courant, saying it has the right to see the documents, but State Police took it to court where it was ruled against the Courant.
Connecticut’s Assistant Attorney General Steven Barry was unwavering in his position that the documents should not be made public.
“This is an involuntary taking of property,” Barry said. “The court made the decision it should be seized and used for law enforcement purposes only, not for a public right to review. These items were in the police report that was disclosed. They’re described.”
A panel of Supreme Court justices meticulously questioned each side about seizure of the documents, exemptions for disclosure, what is defined as public record and what’s being protected when the case is closed.Related content: Court sets hearing on Newtown shooter’s belongings
“Even when an investigation is completed and there’s no prosecution – is this really a concern of the state?” one Justice asked.
The Courant’s lawyer is adamant this case is unprecedented and says the publication is standing up for the public who has a right to know the details.
“The motives of what may have caused this person to do the horrific act that took place in Newtown is certainly a matter of public interest,” William Fish said. “There’s a heightened public importance to this. There is a heightened interest in seeing how the state conducted their investigation. This is a matter of public concern.”