Final Decision FIC2011-447
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2011-447|
Chief, Police Department of the Special
Services District of the Town of Putnam;
and Police Department of the Special
Services District of the Town of Putnam,1
June 27, 2012
The caption reflects the correct name of the respondents.
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 10, 2012, 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. It is found that on July 28, 2011, the complainant requested copies of records pertaining to a criminal incident that occurred on July 17, 2008 involving the complainant.
3. It is found that the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s request on August 2, 2011, and stated that they intended to comply with his request.
4. By letter of complaint filed August 29, 2011, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of the records he requested. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.”
8. 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.
9. It is found that subsequent to the complainant’s appeal to the Commission, the respondents provided more than 100 pages of records to him.
10. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant testified that he was missing: a) an initial report from a certain sergeant; b) a copy of an e-mail and attached photographs sent by a detective; and c) records of local phone calls on July 17 and 18, 2008.
11. With respect to the “initial report,” it is found that the sergeant did not file an “initial” report and that the respondents provided the complainant with the sergeant’s only report, which was “supplemental” to the ongoing investigatory reports.
12. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged in paragraph 10.a, above.
13. With respect to the e-mail and photographs, it is found that in 2009, the respondents upgraded their computer system and replaced their server. It is found that the e-mail sought by the complainant was created in 2008 on a detective’s individual computer, without back-up, and that such computer was destroyed when the respondents obtained new computers in 2009.
14. It is found, based on the respondents’ after-filed exhibit, that after the hearing in this matter, the respondent chief made a copy of the hard copies of the digital photographs that had been attached to the e-mail referenced in paragraph 13, above. It is found that the chief sent such photograph copies to the complainant.
15. It is concluded that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to provide the complainant with such copies in a more prompt manner.
16. With respect to the local phone calls, it is found that the respondents do not maintain records detailing a list of incoming and outgoing telephone numbers, and that their phone bill did not itemize local calls made or received. It is found that the respondents provided the complainant with six CDs of phone calls between the respondents and Adult Probation Services on July 17 and 18, 2008 that were the subject of another request by the complainant.
17. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged in paragraph 10.c, above.
18. After consideration of the entire record in this case, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of civil penalties against the respondents.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness requirements of the FOI Act.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 27, 2012.
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:
Michael Place # 361077
MacDougall Correctional Institution
1153 East Street South
Suffield, CT 06080
Chief, Police Department of the Special Services
District of the Town of Putnam; and Police
Department of the Special Services District
of the Town of Putnam
William H. St. Onge, Esq.
Onge & Brouillard
P.O. Box 550
Putnam, CT 06260
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission