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Final Decision FIC2012-283
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Umar Shahid,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-283
Chief, State of Connecticut,
Office of the Chief Public Defender,
Division of Public Defender Services;
and State of Connecticut,
Office of the Chief Public Defender,
Division of Public Defender Services,
     Respondents
February 27, 2013

     A hearing was scheduled in the above-captioned matter for January 18, 2012. By motion dated January 10, 2013, the respondents moved to dismiss the matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and lack of justiciability. On his own motion, the hearing officer postponed the hearing and allowed the complainant to file a brief in opposition to the motion to dismiss by January 25, 2013. However, the complainant made no filing.  

     1.  Section 1-206(b)(4), G.S., provides that:
          [n]otwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of an appeal to the commission of a denial by a public agency, the commission may, upon motion of such agency, confirm the action of the agency and dismiss the appeal without a hearing if it finds, after examining the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, that the agency has not violated the Freedom of Information Act.
     2.  The notice of appeal, dated May 18, 2012 and filed with the Freedom of Information Commission (“Commission”) on May 23, 2012, alleges that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by denying the complainant’s May 1, 2012 request for: 1) “all cases your office assigned to special defender Attorney Adam Laben in year of 2010 provide copys [sic] of form (Pd-012b)”; and 2) “all cases your office assigned to special defender Attorney W.T. Koch III in year of 2011 provide copies of form (Pd-012b)” (together, the “requested records”).
     3.  It is concluded that, pursuant to §51-293(a)(1), G.S., as amended by P.A. 11-51, Sec. 5 (eff. July 1, 2011), the attorneys previously known as “special assistant public defender[s]” are now referred to as “Division of Public Defender Services assigned counsel”. Such attorneys are directed and supervised by the Chief Public Defender, within the Division of Public Defender Services. Section 51-291(8), G.S., as amended by P.A. 11-51, Sec. 2 (eff. July 1, 2011); P.A. 11-51, Sec. 12(3) (eff. July 1, 2011). The Division of Public Defender Services, and the Office of Chief Public Defender which administers Division services to the indigent, is “an autonomous body within the Judicial Department”. Section 51-289(j), as amended by P.A. 11-51, Sec. 1(l) (eff. July 1, 2011); Section 51-1a(a), G.S. As an autonomous body within the Judicial Department, the Division of Public Defender Services is a public agency for purposes of the FOIA, “but only with respect to its […] administrative functions”. Section 1-200(1)(A), as amended by P.A. 11-220, Sec. 1(l)(A) (eff. October 1, 2011).
     4.  Moreover, the Supreme Court has stated:
     We conclude, therefore, that administrative records are records pertaining to budget, personnel, facilities and physical operations of the courts and that records created in the course of carrying out the courts’ adjudicatory function are categorically exempt from the provisions of the [Freedom of Information Act]. (emphasis added)
Clerk of the Superior Court, Geographical Area Number Seven v. FOIC, 278 Conn. 28, 42 (2006) (“Clerk of the Superior Court”).
The records at issue in Clerk of the Superior Court were the clerk’s so-called day book of cases currently pending in the court, which listed the defendant’s name and address, date of birth, docket numbers, date of the next court hearing, the nature of the next hearing, whether the defendant is represented by counsel, and whether the defendant is currently incarcerated. Concerning these records, the Court said:
The keeping of records for the purpose of scheduling and tracking individual cases and parties is an activity undertaken by the courts for the primary purpose of facilitating their ability to carry out their core judicial function. If such records were treated as public records subject to the act, then no judicial records would be exempt.
Id. at 51.
     5.  Following Clerk of the Superior Court, the Commission has held substantially similar records to be not administrative, but rather adjudicatory. Docket #FIC 2010-350, Kacey Lewis v. Division of Public Defender Services (“Kacey Lewis”) (a list of all cases handled in the Waterbury JD and GA courts by public defenders, with docket numbers, charges and the name of the public defender assigned to each case); Docket #FIC 2007-313, Valvo v. Chief Court Administrator (“Valvo”) (docket sheets in level 2 sealed files).
     6.  It is concluded that records of lists of cases assigned to specified public defender attorneys, with related information, are substantially similar to the “day book” of cases in Clerk of the Superior Court, the docket sheets in Valvo, and the list of cases and assigned counsel sought in Kacey Lewis. Therefore, the requested records herein are records created in the course of carrying out the adjudicatory function and are exempt from the FOIA. 
     7.  After consideration of the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the complainant, it is concluded that the requested records are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.
     8.  Counsel for the respondents submitted a detailed eighteen page brief, plus attachments, addressing a wide range of subjects including the Rules of Professional Conduct and various constitutional rights. The Commission acknowledges the scope of this legal effort, but need not consider all of these arguments in order to adjudicate the case.
     Pursuant to §1-206(b)(4), G.S., the following order by the Commission is hereby recommended:
     1.  The actions of the respondents are hereby confirmed and the complaint is dismissed without a hearing.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 27, 2013.

__________________________
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
Enfield Correctional Institution
289 Shaker Road
Enfield, CT  06082
Chief, State of Connecticut,
Office of the Chief Public Defender,
Division of Public Defender Services;
and State of Connecticut,
Office of the Chief Public Defender,
Division of Public Defender Services
c/o Deborah Del Prete Sullivan, Esq.
State of Connecticut,
Office of the Chief Public Defender
30 Trinity Street, 4th Floor
Hartford, CT  06106
and
Steven R. Strom, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
State of Connecticut,
Office of the Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT  06105
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-283/FD/cac/2/27/2013