FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Dominic Vincenzo, Allen Moore, Tyral Johnson, Mitchell M. Shapiro, Thomas Horn, Robert Ronald DuPerry, Barry Hopkins,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-314

 

Chairman, State of Connecticut Board of Parole,

 

Respondent March 29, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 3, 1987, at which time the respondent appeared. With the consent of the respondent, the hearing was rescheduled to January 14, 1988, at which time the complainants and the respondent 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 is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letters dated September 30, 1987 and October 14, 1987 the complainants, inmates at the Connecticut Correctional Institution at Somers, made a request of the respondent for certain records of the Board of Parole ("Board") relating to the time period beginning January 1, 1976 and ending August 25, 1987, including the following:

 

a. Agendas of all meetings;

 

b. Minutes of any meeting or hearing held before the Board;

 

c. The Board's "Statement of Organization and Procedures;"

 

d. The record of votes of each member at all meetings; and

 

Docket #FIC 87-314 Page 2

 

e. Any statistical data or information which reflects the number of inmates considered for parole.

 

3. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on October 22, 1987 the complainants appealed the respondent's failure to provide the requested information.

 

4. At the hearing, both parties agreed that the only issue to be considered by the Commission is whether the fee for copying the requested information should be waived by the respondent pursuant to 1-15, G.S., in view of the complainants' claim of indigency.

 

5. The respondent argues that the complainants are not indigent and introduced a copy of each complainants' prison account balance sheet into evidence in support of his contention.

 

6. This balance sheet, however, only reflects monies received and earned by the prisoners at Somers, and does not include any outside accounts the prisoners may have, or outside income they may receive.

 

7. It is therefore concluded that the complainants failed to prove their claim of indigency.

 

8. Under the facts of this case, the Commission declines to overrule the respondent's determination that the complainants are not indigent for purposes of waiving the copying fee.

 

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.

 

2. The Commission notes that the above-captioned case was dismissed solely on the question of indigency and should not be interpreted as meaning that the records being sought by the complainants are not public records as defined by 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

3. The Commission recommends that in the future, the complainants, in an effort to verify their claim of indigency, submit affidavits to the respondent detailing all assets, outside income and/or bank accounts, if such exist. This

 

Docket #FIC 87-314 Page 3

 

additional information will provide the respondent with a more accurate picture of their financial status and better enable him to make the determination of indigency.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 23, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission