FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Lewis Bond,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-32

 

Chairman, Board of Parole of the State of Connecticut Department of Correction,

 

Respondent June 24, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was scheduled for hearing on March 19, 1987 at which time the parties appeared and presented evidence and argument on the complaint. At hearing Igor Sikorsky, Jr., appeared on behalf of two women who had testified at the parole hearing of the complainant pursuant to 54-126a, G.S. Attorney Sikorsky was granted permission to represent these women in this proceeding as a limited intervenor, with the right to present legal argument on their behalf.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. On January 29, 1987, the complainant filed his complaint with this Commission alleging that the respondent had denied him access to certain records.

 

3. The complainant requested the records initially on November 4, 1986, when he sent the respondent a letter requesting copies of the records in his parole file of which he had not received copies, and a transcript of a parole hearing which took place on November 4, 1986.

 

4. Copies of the requested parole file records were provided on December 9, 1986.

 

5. On December 9, 1986, the complainant was informed that no transcript of the parole hearing would be made unless there was litigation.

 

Docket # FIC 87-32 page two

 

6. On December 9, 1986, the complainant made a written request for a copy of the tape recording of the parole hearing.

 

7. The respondent claimed the tape recording was exempt under 1-19(b)(2) and under 1-19(b)(3)(E), G.S.

 

8. The complainant is in prison because he was convicted of a sexual assault.

 

9. The women who appeared at the complainant's parole hearing opposed his release pursuant to 54-126a, G.S.

 

10. 54-126, G.S. provides in relevant part that the victim of a crime or the legal representative of the victim or a member of a deceased victim's immediate family may "appear before the panel for the purpose of making a statement for the record concerning whether the inmate should be released on parole...."

 

11. The two women who appeared at the parole hearing pursuant to 54-126a, G.S. urge this Commission not to release the tape recording of the hearing because it contains statements made by them which if disclosed would invade their personal privacy.

 

12. It is found that since the complainant was present at the parole hearing, he has not been denied an opportunity to know the content of the statements to the parole board.

 

13. It is found that since the parole hearing was not conducted "in connection with the detection or investigation of crime", the tape recording is not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(3)(E), G.S.

 

14. It is found that the tape recording is not a file similar to a personnel file.

 

15. It is found that disclosure of statements made in the hearing before the parole board by the two women intervenors in this proceeding is not an invasion of their personal privacy because the parole hearing is a public hearing, and because the identity of the complainant's victim was made part of the public record in the court proceedings which led to his incarceration.

 

16. It is concluded that the tape recording of the parole hearing is not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

 

Docket # FIC 87-32 page three

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

l. In the discretion of the Commission, and because of the unusual facts of this case, the Commission declines to order release of the tape to the complainant herein.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 24, 1987.

 

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission