IN RE JUDICIAL INQUIRY NO. 2005-02, SC 18069

Investigatory Grand Jury Panel

 

Grand Jury Investigation; Appellate Jurisdiction; Whether Panel of Judges Properly Refused to Disclose Application for Grand Jury Investigation and Order Thereon; Whether Appellate Court had Jurisdiction Over Petition for Review of Panel's Order Denying Request for Disclosure; Whether Appellate Court's Ruling On Petition for Review was a Final Judgment. On the state's request, a panel of judges appointed a grand jury to investigate whether a police officer committed a crime when he shot and killed an individual while on duty. The state's application for the investigation and the panel's order thereon were sealed pursuant to General Statutes 54-47e, and copies of the same were transmitted to the grand jury in accordance with General Statutes 54-47d (b). After conducting its investigation, the grand jury found probable cause to believe that the officer had committed a crime, and the officer was charged with manslaughter and assault. The officer subsequently applied to the trial court for an order requiring the state to produce its application for the grand jury investigation and the panel's order thereon, and the state, in turn, requested that the panel disclose such materials. The panel denied the state's request, and the officer filed a petition for review with the Appellate Court. The panel intervened, arguing that the Appellate Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the petition because the Investigatory Grand Jury Act makes no provision for appellate review of its order denying the request for disclosure. The state and the officer argued that the Appellate Court had jurisdiction over the petition pursuant to General Statutes 54-47g (a), which allows any person to apply to the panel for the disclosure of any part of the "record" of a grand jury investigation and allows any person aggrieved by an order of the panel denying a request for disclosure to appeal to the Appellate Court by way of a petition for review. The panel claimed that the "record" of the grand jury investigation was limited to testimony and exhibits presented to the grand jury and did not include the requested materials. The Appellate Court (104 Conn. App. 398) disagreed and concluded that the material was part of the record for purposes of 54-47g (a) and that it had jurisdiction over the petition. It also ruled that it could not determine whether the officer was entitled to the materials because the panel failed to conduct a hearing in accordance with 54-47g (a) to ascertain whether the disclosure of the materials was in the "public interest." Hence, the Appellate Court remanded the matter back to the panel for such a hearing. The Supreme Court subsequently granted the panel's petition for certification. On appeal, it will consider whether the Appellate Court correctly decided that it had jurisdiction over the petition for review. If the court answers that question in the affirmative, it will then decide whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the materials were part of the record of the grand jury's investigation. If it answers the latter question affirmatively, it will consider whether the "public interest" that the Appellate Court directed the panel to evaluate on remand refers to the policy interest in grand jury privacy or the policy interest in public disclosure. The officer argues, as a threshold issue, that the Supreme Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the panel's appeal on the ground that the appeal was not taken from a final judgment.