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Final Decision FIC2015-643
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Timothy Townsend,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2015-643
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and
State of Connecticut, Department of
Correction,
     Respondents
May 25, 2016

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 11, 2015, at which time the complainant and 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 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. It is found that, by letter dated September 11, 2015, the complainant made a request to the respondents for “a copy of all documents related to Report No. CRCC-1502012 and Incident Report CRCC 2015-10-150, and all other evidence related to the above incident…not limited to e-mails and faxes and telephone transcripts.”  (Ellipsis in original). 
     3. By letter dated September 22, 2015, and filed on September 30, 2015, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of the records, described in paragraph 2, above. 
     4. Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records or files” as:
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 . . . (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 records requested by the complainant, to the extent that they exist, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
     8. At the hearing, the complainant withdrew his complaint regarding incident report CRCC 2015-10-150.  Accordingly, such report shall not be addressed further herein.
     9. The complainant testified that his September 11, 2015 request was for all documents related to a January 27, 2015 incident and remarks that he made towards respondents’ staff which were perceived as threatening.  The respondents testified that they understood the complainant’s request to be for only an incident report numbered CRCC-2015-02-012, which did not pertain to the complainant.
     10.  It is found that the September 11th request was clearly for “all documents” related to a certain incident.  It is further found that although the request did not explicitly identify the incident, the respondents were aware that there existed a disciplinary report and a disciplinary process summary report, both numbered CRCC1502012, which pertained to the complainant and the January 27th incident.  It is found that the respondents should have provided, at a minimum, a copy of such reports to the complainant in response to the September 11th request.
     11.  Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondents violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., as alleged in the complaint. 
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
     1. The respondents shall forthwith undertake a search for records relating to disciplinary report number CRCC-1502012, and provide copies of any responsive records to the complainant, free of charge.
     2. The Commission notes that better communication between the parties might have avoided the necessity of a costly and time-consuming hearing in this matter.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 25, 2016.
__________________________
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:
Timothy Townsend #243804
Enfield Correctional Institution
289 Shaker Road
P.O. Box 1500
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/2015-643/FD/cac/5/25/2016