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Final Decision FIC2012-519
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
James Torlai,
     Complainant
against
Docket #FIC 2012-519
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 2012-503, 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 May 15, 2012, the complainant requested “information related to all DUI arrests made by the State Police Troop L in April of 2012.”  Specifically, the complainant requested: 
          (a) the name and address of the person arrested;
          (b) the date, time and place of the arrest and the  offense for which the person was arrested;
          (c) an arrest report, incident report, news release or  other similar report of the arrest.

     3.  It is found that, by letter dated May 24, 2012, the respondents acknowledged the request, described in paragraph 2, above, and informed the complainant that a review would be conducted, and that he would be notified as to the results of such review.

     4.  It is found that, by letter dated August 22, 2012, the respondents provided certain records responsive to the request, described in paragraph 2, above, and requested payment of $4.50 for copying costs.
     5.  It is found that, by letter dated September 4, 2012, the complainant paid the $4.50 copying fee, and informed the respondents that he believed their August 22, 2012 response was inadequate and in violation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.  Specifically, the complainant claimed that certain records existed but were not provided; and that some of the records provided did not comply with the requirements of §1-215, G.S., in that they did not, in certain cases, indicate the place of arrest, and in other cases, did not indicate the charges or identify the individual arrested.
     6.  By letter dated September 15, 2012, and filed on September 17, 2012, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to comply with the request for records, described in paragraph 2, above. 
     7.  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.
     8.  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.
     9.  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.”
     10. It is found that the records responsive to the May 15th request, described in paragraph 2, above, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
  
     11. It is found that, by letter dated September 24, 2012, the respondents provided the complainant with information he alleged was missing from the two records he cited, in his September 4th letter, as examples of non-compliance with §1-215, G.S.  It is found that this information included a printout from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website containing criminal/motor vehicle conviction case detail for a particular individual.
     12. It is found that, by letter dated October 14, 2012, the complainant informed the respondents that he believed their response, described in paragraph 11, above, continued to be inadequate.
     13. It is found that, on March 5, 2013, the respondents provided the complainant with additional records, consisting of Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) notes, which were not previously provided to him.  It is found that such records are responsive to the request, described in paragraph 2, above. 
     14. At the hearing in this matter, the respondents argued that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the complaint, described in paragraph 6, above, because the complainant failed to file such complaint in a timely manner.
     15. Section 1-206(b)(1) provides, in relevant part, that:
          Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210…may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission.  A notice of appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after such denial….For purposes of this subsection, such notice of appeal shall be deemed to be filed on the date it is received by said commission or on the date it is postmarked, if received more than thirty days after the date of the denial from which such appeal is taken.
     16. According to the respondents, the complaint should have been filed on or before June 15, 2012, and, because it was not filed until September 17, 2012, such complaint is untimely. 
     17. However, it is found that the denial of the request occurred on August 22, 2012.  Accordingly, it is found that the complaint was filed within 30 days of the denial, as required by the statute.
     18. It is therefore concluded that the Commission has jurisdiction over the complaint.
     19. At the hearing in this matter, the respondents conceded that some of the records initially provided to the complainant in response to the request, described in paragraph 2, above, did not conform to the requirements of §1-215, G.S.1

1
Section 1-215, G.S. generally, requires disclosure of any “record of arrest” from the time of arrest.  “Record of arrest” is defined as (1) the name and address of the person arrested, the date, time and place of arrest, and the offense for which the person was arrested, and (2) at least one of the following, designated by the law enforcement agency:  the arrest report, incident report, news release or other similar report of the arrest of a person.
     20. However, it is also found that, as a result of this and other complaints filed with this Commission, as well as numerous requests the complainant has made to the respondents for conviction information, the respondents have developed a protocol to govern the processing of freedom of information act requests, in an effort to make their responses timely and in compliance with §1-215, G.S.   The Commission commends the respondents for their efforts. 
     21.  Under the facts and circumstances of this case, it is found that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.
     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/2012-519/FD/cac/6/12/2013