FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

James D. Cotton,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-388

 

State of Connecticut Judicial Department, Office of the Chief Court Administrator,

 

Respondent July 27, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 8, 1988. At that time the parties appeared and presented evidence and argument on the complaint.

 

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

1. On October 29, 1987, the complainant requested an opportunity to examine tapes and recordings of a hearing in Superior Court to which he was a party.

 

2. On November 17, 1987, the director of operations of the Superior Court responded to the request of the complainant by informing him that the proceedings would not have been tape recorded, and that a transcript of the proceedings had been delivered to the complainant's attorney in June, 1987.

 

3. It is found that the complainant's request was denied on November 17, 1987.

 

4. It is found that the complainant requested inspection of the stenographer's tapes so he could determine whether the stenographer made errors in her transcription of the tape.

 

5. The respondent claims that the record requested for inspection by the complainant is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act because it is not part of the administrative functions of the court, and, therefore, not a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

6. It is found that pursuant to 51-61, G.S., court reporters are officials of the court, and the records of proceedings in the Superior Court are filed with the clerk of the court.

 

7. It is found that pursuant to 52-161, G.S., an exemplified transcript submitted to the court by an official stenographer is deemed a correct statement of court proceedings.

 

Docket #FIC 87-388 page two

 

8. It is found that pursuant to Conn. Prac. Book 4051, 4054, and 4183, which pertain to procedures for rectification of an appeal, the complainant could have requested corrections of the transcript of the hearing had he chosen to appeal the decision of the trial court.

 

9. It is found that a court reporter does not perform an administrative function for the Superior Court, and, therefore, he or she is not a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

10. It is concluded that the stenographer's tape which was requested by the complainant is not subject to disclosure under 1-15 and 1-19, G.S.

 

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

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of July 27, 1988.

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission