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Final Decision FIC2014-295
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Umar Shahid,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-295
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and State of
Connecticut, Department of Correction,
     Respondents
February 11, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 22, 2014, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction.  See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.).   
     After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
     1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2.  By letter of complaint filed May 13, 2014, the complainant appealed to the Commission, attaching a copy of his request, but making no allegations regarding what response, if any, the respondents made to that request.
     3.  It is found that on April 14, 2014, at a time he was not incarcerated, the complainant requested from the respondents:
… the following document(s) and/or copy(ies) thereof: contractual agreement with Columbus House (Starting Over Program); contractual agreement with Connections Inc. (Reach Program); contractual agreement with Easter Seals; all community service contracts (names thereof); name of contract compliance officer.
The complainant also asserted in his request that he was indigent, and requested a fee waiver.
     4.  It is found that the respondents mailed the complainant a letter in May 2014 addressed to his private residence in New Haven, where he was then residing, informing him that they had the requested contracts available electronically, asking him if he had access to a computer, and asking him if there was an email address at which he could receive the requested documents.
     5.  It is found that the complainant did not respond to the respondents’ May 2014 letter.
     6.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:
Public records or files means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
     7.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to … receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
     8.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
     9.  It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
     10. Section 1-206(b)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part:
Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210 or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a public agency or denied any other right conferred by the Freedom of Information Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission. 
     11. It is found that, while it is possible that the complainant did not receive the May 2014 letter, or did not have access to a computer or email, it is also found that the respondents did not deny him the requested records at the time of his request, and that the complainant did not allege that they had done so.
     12. It is further found that the respondents had no reason to pursue the issue of the complainant’s indigence at the time of his request, as they had offered to provide him the records electronically, and therefore at no cost to him, and he had not responded to that offer, for reasons unknown to them.
     13. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act with respect to the complainant’s request.

     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
     1.  The complaint is dismissed.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 11, 2015.
__________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Umar Shahid #103589
Robinson Correctional Institution
285 Shaker Road
P.O. Box 1400
Enfield, CT  06082
Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of
Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department
of Correction
c/o James Neil, Esq.
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-295FD/cac/2/11/2015