FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 90-291
State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police, Bureau of Identification, and Middletown Police Department,
Respondent(s) March 13, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 19, 1990, 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 and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter of complaint dated August 2, 1990, and filed with the Commission on August 6, 1990, the complainant alleged that the respondents denied his request for the record of all arrests of an individual named in the request.
3. It is found that on July 24, 1990, the complainant made written requests to each respondent for the arrest record of a specified individual.
4. It is found that the complainant's records request was delivered to each of the respondent's by certified mail, return receipt requested, on July 25, 1990.
5. It is found that the complainant's document request to the respondent state police was addressed to, and mailed to the "reports and records division."
6. It is found that the respondent state police forwarded the complainant's records request to its bureau of identification.
Docket #FIC 90-291 Page 2
7. It is found that by letter dated July 30, 1990 the respondent state police denied the complainant's document request.
8. The respondent state police maintains that 29-16, G.S., prohibits it from disclosing criminal history record information to the complainant.
9. It is found that 29-16, G.S., provides in pertinent part that: "Information contained in the files of the state police bureau of identification (emphasis added) relative to the commission of crime by any person shall be considered privileged and shall not be disclosed for any personal purpose or in any civil proceedings except upon a written order of the judge of an established court wherein such civil proceedings are had. . . .
10. It is found that 29-16, G.S., does not apply to records located in the state police reports and records division.
11. It is found that the records requested by the complainant were neither sought from, nor necessarily exclusively contained in the files of the respondent state police bureau of indentification.
12. It is found that the complainant specifically directed his document request to the reports and records division of the state police which also maintains state police generated criminal records.
13. It is found that the requested information is maintained as a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., at the state police records and reports division.
14. It is concluded that the respondent state police should have provided the complainant with either the record of arrest information for the named individual that was located in its reports and records division at the time of the document request, or a reply letter stating that no such information is contained in those files.
Docket #FIC 90-291 Page 3
15. It is therefore concluded that the respondent state police violated 1-15, G.S. by failing to comply with the complainant's request for record of arrest information located in its reports and records division at the time of the records request.
16. The respondent Middletown police department maintains that 54-142k(c), G.S., prohibits it from disclosing the records at issue to the complainant.
17. It is found that 54-142k(c) provides for the inspection, verification and correction of nonconviction information by the subject of the criminal record.
18. It is found that 54-142k(c) has no application to the instant case.
19. It is found that the relevant statutory provision governing the criminal records at issue here is 54-142k(b), G.S.
20. 54-142k(b), G.S., provides in pertinent part that: "[c]riminal history record information other than nonconviction information, shall be available to the public unless otherwise prescribed by law."
21. It is found that the respondent Middletown police department failed to prove the applicability of 54-142k(c), G.S., or any other statutory exception to the open records requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
22. It is found that the records requested from the respondent Middletown police department are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
23. It is concluded that the respondent Middletown police department failed to comply with the disclosure requirements of 1-15, G.S.
Docket #FIC 90-291 Page 4
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended
on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent state police shall forthwith provide the complainant with either copies of the requested records which were located in the files of its records and reports division at the time of the complainant's request, irrespective of the present location of the records, or a sworn affidavit that at the time of the records request there was no arrest record information available other than files in the bureau of identification.
2. The respondent Middletown police shall forthwith provide the complainant with either copies of the requested record of arrest information, or a sworn affidavit that the requested documents do not exist.
3. The Commission notes that nothing herein shall be construed to authorize any department of the state police, other than the respondent bureau of identification, or any other public agency to withhold criminal history information, other than nonconviction information, from the public.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 13, 1991.
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 90-291 Page 5
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:
106 Kennedy Road
Manchester, CT 06040
STATE OF CONNECTICUT, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, DIVISION OF STATE POLICE, BUREAU OF IDENTIFICATION
c/o Margaret Quilter Chapple, Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
MIDDLETOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT
c/o Russell Lehman, Esq., Assistant City Attorney
245 DeKoven Drive
P.O. Box 1300
Middletown, CT 06457
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission