FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Jon L. Schoenhorn,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-181

 

Simsbury Police Department and Records/Communication Supervisor of the Simsbury Police Department,

 

Respondents September 23, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 28, 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 respondent department is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated June 8, 1987 the complainant made a request of the respondent department for copies of the following records:

 

All police reports, statements, documents and photocopies of photographs prepared in connection with departmental case number 0558-87 (incident at Emmon's Tropical Fish on or about March 19, 1987).

 

3. By letter dated June 11, 1987, the respondent denied the complainant's request.

 

4. The respondent department claims the records are exempt under 1-19(a), G.S., because 51-14, G.S., which authorizes the judges of the Superior Court to promulgate rules governing discovery in Superior Court cases, is a state statute which otherwise provides limitations on disclosure.

 

Docket #FIC 87-181 Page 2

 

5. The respondent department also claims that 1-19b(b), G.S., bars disclosure of the records, and also that by analogy with 1-19c, G.S., which exempts the division of criminal justice from the FOIA, the police records compiled for criminal cases prosecuted by the division are exempt from disclosure.

 

6. The respondent department claims further that the records are exempt under 1-19(b)(3), G.S., because disclosure would occur with respect to the identity of persons providing information and because disclosure would be prejudicial to the pending law enforcement action against Rodney R. Taylor.

 

7. The respondent also contends that disclosure is barred by the Connecticut Constitution.

 

8. The complainant represents Rodney R. Taylor, a defendant in a criminal prosecution designated No. CR 870066993.

 

9. The complainant was permitted to inspect the file in the above case of the assistant state's attorney in Enfield. However, no copies of the records in the file were made available to him.

 

10. It is found that the file which was seen by the complainant may contain information which would identify informants which are not otherwise known, and which is exempt under 1-19(b)3(B), G.S.

 

11. It is found that the file which was seen by the complainant reveals no investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the general public, discloses no arrest record of juveniles, and reveals no names or addresses of a victim of sexual assault.

 

12. It is further found that the file which was seen by the complainant does not contain information which would be prejudicial to the prospective law enforcement action.

 

13. Except for that portion of the file which may reveal the identity of informants not otherwise known, it is found that the respondent failed to prove that the records sought by the complainant are exempt under 1-19(b)(3), G.S.

 

14. It is found that the complainant has not filed motions on behalf of Rodney Taylor for disclosure of the records which he seeks from the police department.

 

Docket #FIC 87-181 Page 3

 

15. It is found that rules of the superior court created

pursuant to 51-14, G.S., do not supersede the requirement of public disclosure set forth at 1-19(a), G.S., because the records are not sought pursuant to the procedures and discovery rights set forth in the Connecticut Practice Book at 731-755, and because the file has already been inspected by the complainant with the permission of the assistant state's attorney.

 

16. It is found that 1-19b(b), G.S., does not exempt from disclosure the police records which are sought herein because the records are not sought pursuant to any procedures or discovery rights set forth in the Connecticut Practice Book at 731-755, and because the file has been inspected by the complainant with the permission of the assistant state's attorney.

 

17. It is found that 1-19c, G.S., does not exempt the requested records from disclosure.

 

18. It is found that the Commission lacks jurisdiction to decide any constitutional claim which may be raised by the respondent.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with the records requested by him on June 8, 1987, which are described in paragraph 2 above.

 

2. If the records do contain the names of informants not otherwise known, these may be redacted before the records are made available to the complainant.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 23, 1987.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission