The public will not be seeing crime scene images of victims killed during the Newtown school shooting, even if a FOIA request is filed. The Connecticut Senate and House voted overwhelmingly today to block such photos and videos—not just from Newtown but from all homicide cases—from public disclosure by way of a new exemption created under the state's Freedom of Information Act, the Hartford Courant reports. In each case, just two Democrats voted against the measure, which Gov. Dannel Malloy is expected to sign. "All families have a right to grieve in private," said Malloy in a statement after the vote. "Those who lose loved ones to violence have a right to protect themselves against further anguish."
But the issue had been a controversial one, with Newtown parents fighting hard for the protection while others, including members of the press, freedom of information activists, the ACLU, and even Michael Moore, spoke out against it. They were particularly troubled by the fact that the bill was negotiated in secret; the news didn't come to light until May 21, Reuters reports. The bill initially also blocked the release of all 911 audio, but that section was compromised in order to push the bill through by today's deadline, the end of the legislative session. That audio can still be released as public records, but law enforcement agencies can, at least for now, refuse to disclose parts of other audio recordings in which authorities describe the condition of a homicide victim.