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Final Decision FIC2013-071
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Gerald Pinto,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-071
Chief, Police Department, Town
of Stratford; and Police
Department, Town of Stratford,
     Respondents
September 25, 2013

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 9, 2013, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented exhibits and argument on the complaint.  At the hearing, the parties agreed that the case caption should be changed to reflect that Gerald Pinto is the actual complainant in this matter.  Such change is reflected above. 
     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 4, 2012, the complainant requested that the respondents provide him with (a) copies of all internal affairs records and related records for the preceding twenty-four months, and (b) copies of all police records related to incidents at 130 Honeyspot Road for calendar year 2011.
     3.  It is found that on September 11, 2012, the respondents acknowledged the request described in paragraph 2, above.  It is found that thereafter, the parties communicated regarding the request, and that the respondents estimated that the requested copies would approximate 2000 pages.  It is further found that, on November 24, 2012, the complainant paid a fee of $1,000 for the copies, and that the parties agreed on a timetable for providing the records. 
     4.  It is found that, in January 2013, the complainant again contacted the respondents seeking the requested copies.  It is further found that, on January 23, 2013, the respondents informed the complainant that certain of the requested copies were exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of §1-210(b)(3), G.S.
     5.  By letter of complaint, dated February 4, 2013 and filed February 13, 2013, 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. 
     6.  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.
     7.  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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
     8.  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.”
 
     9.  At the July 9, 2013, hearing, the parties agreed that the only records remaining at issue in this matter are 21 pages that the respondents maintain, which are responsive to the request described in paragraph 2(b), above.
     10. The respondents provided copies of the records described in paragraph 9, above, for in camera inspection.  Such copies are hereinafter described as IC-2013-071-1 through IC-2013-071-21.  Such records consist of a police report, application for arrest warrant, search and seizure warrants, witness statements, and various related police forms. 
     11. The respondents contend that IC-2013-071-1 through IC-2013-071-21 are exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S., because such documents contain uncorroborated allegations of criminal activity.1 

1
The Commission notes that the exemption for uncorroborated allegations is now set forth in §1-210(b)(3)(H), G.S., pursuant to Public Act 13-311. Accordingly, the Commission will address the exemption as currently codified.
     12. Section 1-210(b)(3)(H), G.S., provides, in relevant part, that nothing in the FOI Act shall require the disclosure of:
Records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of . . . uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to section 1-216 . . . .
     13. In turn, §1-216, G.S., provides:
Except for records the retention of which is otherwise controlled by law or regulation, records of law enforcement agencies consisting of uncorroborated allegations that an individual has engaged in criminal activity shall be reviewed by the law enforcement agency one year after the creation of such records.  If the existence of the alleged criminal activity cannot be corroborated within ninety days of the commencement of such review, the law enforcement agency shall destroy such records.
     14. Based upon careful review of the in camera records, it is found that such records are records of a law enforcement agency, not otherwise available to the public, which were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, and which contain uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to §1-216, G.S.  

     15. The Commission has consistently concluded that the entirety of the record of an investigation of uncorroborated allegations of criminal activity is exempt from disclosure, pursuant to §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S., now §1-210(b)(3)(H), G.S.   See, e.g., Docket # 2009-782, O’Meara v. Legal Affairs Unit, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety (all records including incident report and witness statements exempt under §1-210(b)(3), G.S.); Docket #FIC2006-049, Otto v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Greenwich (all 48 pages of police report exempt from disclosure under §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2005-031, Bosco v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Wethersfield (all 22 pages of investigation report comprised of incident report; supplemental reports; statements of the complainant, the suspect and another individual; case closure report exempt under §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2003-462, Kosinski v. Department of Public Safety (all 25 pages of investigation report exempt under §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2003-218, Chalecki v. Department of Public Safety (entirety of investigation report exempt under §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2000-291, Damato v. Records Supervisor, Police Department, Town of Glastonbury (all four pages of investigation report exempt under §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 1999-493, Peruta v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Wethersfield et al. (all three pages of investigation exempt under §1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 1999-296, Hartford Courant et al. v. Chief, Police Department, City of Torrington et al. (all 317 pages of investigation report exempt under §1-210(b)(3)(B) and (G), G.S.).

     16. It is concluded that IC-2013-071-1 through IC-2013-071-21 are exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of §1-210(b)(3)(H), G.S.  Accordingly, it is also concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by withholding such documents from the complainant. 

     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 September 25, 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:
Gerald Pinto
c/o Cathy Kohut, Esq.
20 Easton Road
P.O. Box 38
Monroe, CT  06468
Chief, Police Department, Town of Stratford; and Police
Department, Town of Stratford
c/o Christopher Smedick, Esq.
Associate Town Attorney
472 Wheelers Farms Road
3rd Floor,
Milford, CT  06460

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2013-071/FD/cac/9/25//2013