The state Supreme Court heard arguments Friday on whether the state could charge The Hartford Courant more than $20 million for a copy of Connecticut’s criminal record database.

The Department of Public Safety said copying and deleting private material from each record in the 815,000-item database would cost $25 per record.

Criminal convictions, by law, are a matter of public record. The agency is obligated to remove information about juvenile records and other nondiscloseable information. A separate statute entitles the state police to charge $25 for each search.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew B. Beizer, representing the state police, argued Friday that the law dictating what the agency should charge for each file supercedes the Freedom of Information Act.

Attorney Ralph G. Elliot, representing The Courant, told the court the newspaper was prepared to pay for a program that would automatically remove nondiscloseable material from the database, then copy the database.

It likely will be at least several months before the justices rule on the case.

–Associated Press