Final Decision FIC2015-051
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2015-051|
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; State of
Connecticut, Department of Correction,
December 16, 2015
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 10, 2015 at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford, Docket No. CV 03-0826293, (corrected order dated January 27, 2004, Sheldon, J.).
For purposes of hearing, the above-captioned matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2015-324, John Kaminski v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction.
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. It is found that, by letter dated December 29, 2014, the complainant made a request to the respondents for a copy of certain records that included a November 20, 2014 video recording showing him being transported between the prison and a medical facility (hereinafter “the November 20, 2014 video recording”).
3. By letter dated January 14, 2015 and filed on January 20, 2015, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request for a copy of the November 20, 2014 video recording.
4. Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:
“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, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
5. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
6. Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
7. It is found that the requested record, to the extent it exists, is a public record within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
8. It is found that the respondents informed the complainant that video recordings are only retained for thirty days and that the November 20, 2014 video recording had been erased and no longer existed.
9. At the hearing on this matter, the complainant contended that the surveillance system the respondents use has the capacity to save and store recordings into infinity and that the video recording he requested still exists. The complainant also contended that because he filed a motion with the Superior Court that the November 20, 2014 video recording be “secured,” that it would have been in the respondents’ interest to maintain it.
10. However, it is found that the respondents did not receive an order or any other directive from the Superior Court to maintain the November 20, 2014 video recording, and that they did not receive a request from the complainant to preserve it.
11. It is found that the November 20, 2014 video recording was erased pursuant to the respondents’ thirty day retention policy and no longer exists.
12. Therefore, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the disclosure provisions of the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 16, 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:
John Kaminski #241124
Osborn Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 100
Somers, CT 06071
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