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Newtown photos barred: Did lawmakers balance privacy, public's right to know? (+video)

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It also puts a one-year moratorium on release of audio recordings that describe the condition of victims. The law does not include protection for 911 recordings.

The language of the law seems overly broad to Mr. Paulson, who says these kinds of restrictions are “dangerous” because “the public has a very real interest in understanding how fellow citizens have lost their lives.”

 It’s not the first time a state legislature has acted to restrict access to public records in the name of privacy rights.

In Florida, following the 2001 death of Dale Earnhardt in a race-car crash, lawmakers exempted autopsy photos from the public-records law unless released by a family member or judge, and the Florida Supreme Court upheld the law. The Orlando Sentinel had wanted access to the photos to independently verify the reported cause of death, because there was a question about whether the use of a head-and-neck restraint device could have saved his life, The Florida Times-Union reported.

Also, Georgia passed the Meredith Emerson Memorial Privacy Act in 2010 to restrict access to certain crime-scene photos, after Hustler magazine requested photos of the brutally murdered woman.

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