June  2013    
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  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

Follow NEFAC's ongoing First Amendment conversation as it develops across New England 
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Federal Judge in NY Says ICE Must Disclose Names 

   A federal judge in New York ruled that immigration officials must disclose the names of certain illegal immigrants they arrest, a decision that appears to contradict an earlier ruling involving the Union Leader Corp.

   A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found in favor of the Boston Globe and its parent company, the New York Times. 

   The news company sought the names of illegal aliens who were convicted of a crime, slated for deportation and then released from federal custody.


Read full UL story

NEFAC Report on NH Case  

Keep up with First Amendment issues via NEFAC's blog

   It's a forum for citizens, journalists, students, public policy advocates and government officials to have their say on First Amendment issues.
   The blog is maintained by the staff of the New England First Amendment Center at the School of Journalism at Northeastern University.
   Submit comments to Laura Crimaldi:

These Are Rough Times for Government Transparency in CT 

By James H. Smith 

   HARTFORD - In 1975, under the enlightened leadership of Gov. Ella T. Grasso, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a freedom of information law that remains a model today

  Smith, James  The original legislation proclaims "that secrecy in government is inherently inconsistent with a true democracy, that the people have a right to be fully informed of the action taken by public agencies in order that they may retain control over the instruments they have created; that the people do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them; that the people in delegating authority do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for them to know ... 

   Today it is that confidentiality and secrecy that is taking precedence in Connecticut's halls of government.  

AG Balks at Sharing Report on RI Inmate's Suicide with Family
By Karen Bordeleau
   PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island attorney general's office has once again decided to withhold public records from the public - this time ruling that the sister of a man who hanged himself at the state prison doesn't have the right to see a police narrative relating to the investigation of his death.
 Karen Bordeleau  The attorney general rules that the public release of the narrative "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of (the family's) personal privacy rights."
   Let me repeat that.
   The sister of a man who died in state custody was denied permission to view the details of that death because it apparently invades the family's privacy ญญ-- even though she, a family member, asked for those details and even though the Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled the right to privacy dies with the person.
MA Town Gets Little Info from State on Casino Plan
By Laura Krantz
   FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - It's oddly satisfying when one government agency battles another for transparency. For once, it's not a reporter knocking down their door.

  Laura Krantz  But the town of Hopkinton's quest for public records from the casino licensing board is a testament to how entitled state officials feel to work in secrecy.

   This year The MetroWest Daily News and The Milford Daily News have followed Hopkinton's attorney and selectmen as they fight a proposal to build a casino nearby, along I-495 in Milford. Attorney Ray Miyares in January requested from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission copies of all applications submitted by individuals and businesses behind the casino proposal.

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Newsletter Sues Private VT Prison Firm for Public Records Access 
By Alex Friedmann

   BRATTLEBORO, Vt. - Increasingly, government agencies are contracting out their public duties, from garbage collection to courthouse security.

  Alex Friedmann  One area of privatization that has raised significant concerns is the operation of prisons, as this involves an essential governmental public safety function that deprives people of a fundamental right: their freedom.

   Prison Legal News,  a monthly publication of the Brattleboro, Vt.-based Human Rights Defense Center, covers criminal justice issues on a national level and has been at the forefront of demanding public accountability when prison operations are privatized.

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   We welcome contributions to The NEFAC Report from journalists, lawyers, adademics or other advocates of government transparency.
   If you have something to add to the conversation, please let me know. Your  stories, experiences and commentaries have broad appeal and value. - - Larry Laughlin, NEFAC Report editor. (lmlaughlin@gmail.com).