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Final Decision FIC2012-503
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
James Torlai,
     Complainant
against
Docket #FIC 2012-503
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Emergency Services and
Public Protection; and State of Connecticut,
Department of Emergency Services and
Public Protection, Division of State Police
     Respondents
June 12, 2013

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 12, 2013, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2012-519, James Torlai v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police; and State of Connecticut, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police.
     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 July 8, 2012, the complainant requested a copy of (a) “any written policy that would allow the destruction of exculpatory evidence in a criminal case…” and (b) any catalogs of video recordings made by Troop L, any lists of such recordings, and any other records that show which recordings are being maintained.”

     3.  It is found that, having received no response, the complainant renewed the request, described in paragraph 2, above, by letter dated September 1, 2012.

     4.  By letter dated September 15, 2012, and filed on September 17, 2012, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by failing to comply with the request for records, described in paragraph 2, above. 
     5.  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.
     6.  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.
     7.   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.”
     8.  It is found that the records responsive to the July 8th request, described in paragraph 2, above, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
  
     9.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant stated that he wished to withdraw his complaint as it relates to the request described in paragraph 2(a), above.  Accordingly, such allegation will not be further addressed herein.
     10. With regard to the request, described in paragraph 2(b), above, the respondents’ witness testified that the respondents do not maintain any records responsive to such request.  The complainant, however, disputed this testimony, and asserted that testimony given by other witnesses in Docket #FIC 2012-205, James Torlai v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police; and State of Connecticut, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police,1  is evidence that the respondents do, in fact, maintain such records.   

1
The testimony referenced is that of Keith Asmun, on October 9, 2012, and State Trooper Bruce LaChance, on February 4, 2013.
     11. The Commission takes administrative notice of the evidence and record in Docket #FIC 2012-205, James Torlai v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police; and State of Connecticut, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police.  It is found, however, that there was no evidence presented during the hearings in that case supportive of the complainant’s position that the respondents maintain the records described in paragraph 2(b), above.  Rather, it is found that video recordings of traffic stops made by Troop L are labeled with a bar code identifying the case number to which they relate, and filed in the evidence room by case number. 
     12. Based upon the foregoing, it is found that the respondents do not maintain the records described in paragraph 2(b), above. 
     13. Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act 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 complaint is hereby dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 12, 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:
James Torlai
127 Barton Street
Torrington, CT  06790
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Emergency Services and
Public Protection; and State of Connecticut,
Department of Emergency Services and
Public Protection, Division of State Police
c/o Terrence M. O’Neill, 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/2012-503/FD/cac/6/12/2013