Access to State Court Documents and Hearings

Register Now for New Round of FOI Lessons

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition is continuing its freedom of information lessons with new classes on state court documents and hearings.

The lessons build on the information provided in NEFAC’s introduction to state court classes which can be viewed here. They will be taught by local attorneys and focus on the court rules and procedures governing public access to judicial records and hearings.

Those attending the lessons will learn:

(1) Court rules on accessing judicial records and proceedings.
(2) Special considerations for journalists, such as the right to record court hearings.
(3) How to object to a denial of access for records or to a proceeding.

This latest round of classes will be provided by NEFAC with support from the Society of Professional Journalists New England, the Rhode Island Foundation and the New England Society of News Editors.

Previous lessons can be viewed on NEFAC’s YouTube channel or through its multimedia FOI Guide. Registration is free and open to all members of the public.

Each class will be moderated by Emily Sweeney, a journalist at The Boston Globe and author of the books “Boston Organized Crime” and “Gangland Boston.” Sweeney currently writes the Blotter Tales column which appears in the Globe every Sunday. In addition to serving on the NEFAC Board of Directors, she’s also president of the New England Society of News Editors.

RHODE ISLAND | June 12 | 5 p.m. ET

Raymond A. Marcaccio is the co-founder of Oliverio & Marcaccio LLP. He represents local news media organizations and brings claims for access to public records and court and government proceedings.

Recommended Viewing Prior to Class: Introduction to Rhode Island Courts

MAINE | June 20 | 5 p.m. ET

Alexis Garmey Chardon and Kristine Hanly are attorneys at Garmey Law in Portland. Chardon represents injured plaintiffs in personal injury, civil rights, medical malpractice, employment, and products liability cases.

As a criminal defense attorney, Hanly has had successes in suppression hearings, secured acquittals in bench and jury trials, and argued to Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Recommended Viewing Prior to Class: Introduction to Maine Courts

VERMONT | June 26 | 5 p.m. ET

Hillary Rich and Harrison Stark are staff attorneys at the Vermont ACLU affiliate, where they litigate a range of civil rights and civil liberties matters in state and federal court, including cases addressing free speech, anti-discrimination, border surveillance, and government transparency.

Stark previously worked at the D.C. Office of the Solicitor General. Rich came to the ACLU from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, where she represented asylum seekers.

Recommended Viewing Prior to Class: Introduction to Vermont Courts

NEW HAMPSHIRE | July 12 | 5 p.m. ET

Gregory V. Sullivan is president of the New England First Amendment Coalition and serves as general counsel for Union Leader Corp. He teaches at Suffolk University Law School and the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.

Recommended Viewing Prior to Class: Introduction to New Hampshire Courts

CONNECTICUT | July 17 | 5 p.m. ET

William S. Fish, Jr. is a partner at Hinckley Allen. His practice spans across a range of legal disciplines including commercial litigation and the First Amendment. He has tried complex matters in state and federal court and has represented the media for 40 years.

Recommended Viewing Prior to Class: Introduction to Connecticut Courts

MASSACHUSETTS | July 24 | 5 p.m. ET

Bob Ambrogi is executive director of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association. A journalist and lawyer, he received the 2017 Yankee Quill award for journalism from the Academy of New England Journalists.

Recommended Viewing Prior to Class: Introduction to Massachusetts Courts

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Leadership Circle donors include the Rhode Island Foundation, The Boston Globe, Paul and Ann Sagan, and the Robertson Foundation. Major Supporters include Boston University, Hearst Connecticut Media Group, the Academy of New England Journalists, Genie Gannett, Linda Pizzuti Henry, Champa Charitable Foundation and Connecticut Public.