FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Erskine D. McIntosh,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 91-11

 

Chief of Police, Bridgeport Police Department,

 

Respondent September 25, 1991

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 18, 1991 and May 2, 1991, at which times the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

At hearing the Chief State's Attorney, John Kelly, and the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Fairfield, Donald A. Browne, moved to be made party defendants. The hearing officer granted each of them the status of intervenor with full rights of participation. The motions of the Chief State's Attorney and the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Fairfield to be made party defendants were denied.

 

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 of complaint received January 16, 1991, the complainant alleged that on January 2, 1991, the respondent denied him access to police reports on the following individuals: Carmen Cajigas, John Hatton, Robert Milton, Jorge Ortiz, Roderick Raiford, Cassandra Tolbert, Lonnie Walton, and Gardner Williams.

 

3. It is found that the respondent did deny the complainant access to the requested records on January 2, 1991.

 

4. It is found that the complainant made the request as an attorney for the Office of Public Defender, and that at the time of his request he represented all of the individuals named in his request for records.

 

Docket # FIC 91-11 Page 2

 

5. It is found at the time of the hearings criminal prosecutions remained pending for seven of the complainant's clients, but that one case had been dismissed and subsequently erased pursuant to 54-142(a), G.S.

 

6. It is found that the erased records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 54-142(a), G.S.

 

7. It is found that the complainant will be permitted to inspect and/or to receive copies of some of the requested records pursuant to the rules which govern discovery in criminal matters set forth in the Connecticut Practice Book, 731 to 755.

 

8. The respondent and the intervenors claim that the records are exempt from disclosure on numerous grounds including 1-19b(b),G.S., which provides in relevant part that:

 

[n]othing in sections 1-15, 1-18a, 1-19 to 1-19b, inclusive and 1-21 to 1-21k, inclusive, shall be deemed in any manner to (1) . . .affect the rights of litigants, including parties to administrative proceedings, under the laws of discovery of this state . . . .

 

9. It is found under the facts of this case that an order of this Commission requiring disclosure of the records requested by the complainant would affect the rights of litigants under the laws of discovery of this state.

 

10. It is concluded, therefore, as a matter of comity and based upon the requirement of 1-19b(b), G.S., that the Commission should not order disclosure in this case.

 

11. It is found further that the foregoing conclusion makes it unnecessary to consider the additional claims of the respondent and the intervenors that form the legal basis for withholding the requested records, and which are fully set forth in Docket #FIC 89-360, Robert H. Boone and the Journal Inquirer against Chief of Police, Windsor Locks, Police Department.

 

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

 

Docket # FIC 91-11 Page 3

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 25, 1991.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket # FIC 91-11 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:

Mary H. Lesser, Esq.

Assistant State's Attorney

340 Quinnipiac Street

P. O. Box 5000

Wallingford, CT 06492

 

Erskine D. McIntosh, Esq.

Office of the PUblic Defender

Superior Court - Part A

Judicial District of Fairfield

1061 Main Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604