Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
October 24, 2006
Honorable William J. Lavery
Chief Court Administrator
100 Washington St.
PO Box 150474
Hartford, CT 06115
Dear Judge Lavery:
You ask whether the <st2:country-region>
The PRAWN database was created pursuant to
Whenever a [rearrest] warrant is issued…the court, judge or judge trial referee may cause such warrant to be entered into a central computer system. Existence of the warrant in the computer system shall constitute prima facie evidence of the issuance of the warrant. Any person named in the warrant may be arrested based on the existence of the warrant in the computer system and shall, upon any such arrest, be given a copy of the warrant.
You ask whether Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-142i(c), which limits direct computer access to certain “criminal history record information” to authorized officers or employees of “criminal justice agencies,” would prevent access by the Marshals Service to the PRAWN database. Your particular question is whether only State of
For purposes of the computer records access provisions of
any court with criminal jurisdiction, the Department of Motor Vehicles or any other governmental agency created by statute which is authorized by law and engages, in fact, as its principal function in activities constituting the administration of criminal justice, including, but not limited to, organized municipal police departments, the Division of State Police, the Department of Correction, the Court Support Services Division, the Office of Policy and Management, the state's attorneys, assistant state's attorneys and deputy assistant state's attorneys, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Chief Medical Examiner and the Office of the Victim Advocate. ‘Criminal justice agency’ includes any component of a public, noncriminal justice agency if such component is created by statute and is authorized by law and, in fact, engages in activities constituting the administration of criminal justice as its principal function.
This definition does not require that a “criminal justice agency” be an agency of the State of
The Marshals Service clearly qualifies as a “governmental agency created by statute which is authorized by law and engages, in fact, as its principal function in activities constituting the administration of criminal justice[.]”
Moreover, the use of the phrase “including, but not limited to” in the definition of “criminal justice agency” indicates that the legislature did not intend to limit records access to state criminal justice agencies. See, e.g.,
On its face, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-124g appears intended to restrict direct computer access to certain criminal justice records to entities whose purposes are necessary to the proper execution of law enforcement duties. The Marshals Service’s request for access to the PRAWN database advances the purpose of the statute. The Marshals Service is responsible for conducting warrant checks on prisoners held in the federal courts in
In sum, there exists no legal prohibition preventing the Judicial Branch from providing the Marshals Service access to the PRAWN database. The Judicial Branch is clearly authorized to and should require that the Marshals Service institute and/or comply with appropriate safeguards to ensure that PRAWN records are accessed, utilized and disseminated only for appropriate law enforcement purposes and that such records are maintained securely. See
I trust that this letter responds to your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance on this or any other matter.
Very truly yours,
1 It appears clear that PRAWN records of rearrest warrants constitute “criminal history record information,” which is defined for purposes of § 54-142i(a) to include, inter alia, any “court records and information compiled by criminal justice agencies for purposes of identifying criminal offenders and of maintaining as to each such offender notations of arrests, releases, detentions, indictments, informations, or other formal criminal charges[.]” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-142i(a).
2 We understand that the Marshals Service already has access to the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing System (“COLLECT”) database maintained by the Connecticut Department of Public Safety, which includes criminal conviction information.
Connecticut Department of Public Safety, which includes