FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Norman E. Bolles,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-161

 

Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police and Commanding Officer, Eastern District Traffic, Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police,

 

Respondents October 14, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 16, 1987, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

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

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated April 25, 1987, the complainant requested copies of the following records:

 

a. The identification, including make, age and model number, of the radar speed measuring equipment operated by Trooper Timko (shield number 1024) at 8:44 a.m. on March 27, 1987. (hereinafter "radar speed measuring equipment").

 

b. All maintenance and calibration records concerning the radar speed measuring equipment.

 

c. All certificates of certification for the radar speed measuring equipment and test equipment, including all tuning forks.

 

d. All training records of Trooper Timko.

 

Docket #FIC 87-161 Page 2

 

e. All state police internal memos regarding the use of radar speed measuring devices from January 1, 1980 to the present.

 

3. By letter dated May 15, 1987, the respondents denied the complainant's request.

 

4. By letter of complaint dated May 27, 1987 and filed with the Commission on June 2, 1987, the complainant alleged the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act in their refusal to release the records described in paragraphs 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d and 2e, above.

 

5. On March 27, 1987, the complainant was summoned to appear in Superior Court for the Judicial District of Tolland on April 23, 1987, for failure to wear a seat safety belt and for operating a motor vehicle on a highway in excess of sixty miles per hour, in violation of 14-100a(c) and 14-219(c), G.S.

 

6. On July 2, 1987, the complainant filed a discovery motion with the court and was granted access to the records described in paragraphs 2a, 2b and 2c, above. These records, therefore, are no longer at issue. The court, however, denied the complainant access to the records described in paragraphs 2d and 2e, above.

 

7. The respondents claim the records described in parargaphs 2d and 2e, above, are exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(3)(B) and 1-19(b)(4), G.S.

 

8. The respondents further claim the granting or denial of the complainant's request rests with the court, pursuant to 54-86a, G.S., and therefore requiring the production of the records described in paragraphs 2d and 2e, above, would be in violation of 1-19b(b), G.S.

 

9. It is found the respondents failed to respond in writing to the complainant's request within four business days, in violation of 1-21i(a), G.S.

 

10. It also is found the records described in paragraphs 2d and 2e, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

11. It further is found that a violation of 14-100a(c) or 14-219(c), G.S., is an "infraction" and therefore does not constitute a "crime" within the meaning of 53a-24(a), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 87-161 Page 3

 

12. It therefore is concluded the records, described in paragraphs 2d and 2e, above, were not compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of a crime and therefore are not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(3)(B), G.S.

 

13. It further is found the respondents failed to prove that the records described in paragraphs 2d and 2e, above, pertained to strategy or negotiations with respect to the pending law enforcement action involving the complainant. It therefore is concluded such records are not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(4), G.S.

 

14. It is found, however, under the circumstances presented, requiring production of the records described in paragraphs 2d and 2e, above, would affect the rights of litigants under the laws of discovery of this state within the meaning of 1-19b(b), G.S., and therefore the Commission declines to order the disclosure of such records.

 

15. It therefore is concluded the respondents' failure to release the records described in paragraphs 2d and 2e, above, was not a violation of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

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

 

1. The respondents shall henceforth act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-21i(a), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 14, 1987.

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission