FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Edward L. Johnson, Jr. and Connecticut Bar Association,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 88-484

 

Chairman, State of Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission,

 

Respondent November 8, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 24, 1989, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and presented argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

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

 

2. By letter dated October 27, 1988, the complainants requested of the respondent the opportunity to inspect or copy any and all records concerning statistics regarding the gender and national origin of candidates, interviewees and recommended qualified applicants for judicial appointment, and the years of experience as members of any state bar of recommended qualified applicants for judicial appointment.

 

3. By letter dated November 14, 1988 the respondent denied the complainants' request.

 

4. By letter of complaint dated December 9, 1988 and received by the Commission on December 12, 1988, the complainants appealed from the respondent's denial of their request.

 

5. The respondent argues that all of its records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 51-44a(i), G.S., which provided as of the date of the denial of the complainants' request:

 

The investigations, deliberations, files and records of the [judicial selection] commission shall be confidential and not open to the public or subject to disclosure.

 

FIC #88-484 Page 2

 

6. Section 1 of P.A. 89-238, effective June 22, 1989, amends 51-44a(i), G.S., renumbers it as 51-44a(j), and provides that "the investigations, deliberations, files and records" of the respondent shall be confidential except as provided in 51-44a(e) and (m).

 

7. Section 1 of P.A. 89-238 also amends 51-44a, G.S., to include a new subsection 51-44a(m), which requires the respondent annually to report the type of information sought by the complainants to the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee. Since this information constitutes an exception to the matters to be kept confidential under 51-44a(j), as amended, presumably it is also available to the public.

 

8. It is concluded therefore that 1 of P.A. 89-238 operates to make public the type of statistical information sought by the complainants.

 

9. It is also concluded, however, that 1 of P.A. 89-238 does not apply retroactively to the complainants' request and its denial by the respondent.

 

10. It is concluded therefore that 51-44a(i), G.S., as in effect on the date of the denial of the complainants' request did not permit the disclosure of the records sought by the complainants.

 

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.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 8, 1989.

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

FIC #88-484 Page 3

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

EDWARD L. JOHNSON, JR. AND CONNECTICUT BAR ASSOCIATION

c/o Jamie L. Mills, Esquire

Law Firm of John M. Creane

92 Cherry Street

P.O. Box 170

Milford, CT 06460

 

CHAIRMAN, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, JUDICIAL SELECTION COMMISSION

c/o Daniel R. Schaefer, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

55 Elm Street

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

Tina C. Frappier

Acting Clerk of the Commission