Forty court files in Connecticut remain “super-sealed” four years after revelations that the judicial branch had concealed existence of many lawsuits, enraging lawmakers and the public. But more information about the cases trickled out Tuesday as a judge and lawyers for several litigants who have sued the court system over the practice try to solve the conundrum, reports the Hartford Courant.
Several cases involve people who changed their names in the face of viable and detailed death threats, according to participants at the hearing. A woman who claimed police brutality had her file sealed. One man whose ex-wife is a well-known Westport lawyer said he felt pressured into agreeing to have all trace of their divorce case erased from public view. The existence of this extreme sealing practice may have been first documented in a memo to court clerks in 2000, instructing them to not even acknowledge the existence of a “Level 1” sealed case. Such cases were referenced by number, not by the names of the parties. The judicial branch in 2003 acknowledged the existence of at least 185 Level 1 files.