FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Raymond M. Hassett, Esq.
against Docket #FIC 94-86
Waterbury Police Department
Respondent July 27, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 1, 1994, at which time the complainant 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 and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letters dated February 23, and March 15, 1994, the complainant requested that the respondent answer certain inquiries and provide access to certain records related to the respondent's disclosure to the State Department of Corrections of a police incident report concerning one Raymond Agrinzone.
3. By letter dated March 22, 1994, the respondent, through the Assistant to the Waterbury Corporation Counsel, denied the complainant's request, as described in paragraph 2, above.
4. The complainant thereupon appealed to the Commission by letter dated March 22, 1994 and filed with the Commission on March 24, 1994.
5. Neither 1-15 and 1-19, G.S., nor any other provision of the Freedom of Information Act, requires a public agency to answer inquiries. Consequently, the Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction over those portions of the complainant's request specifically seeking answers to inquiries, and not records.
6. In his March 22, 1994 request, however, the complainant sought copies of the following records:
Docket #FIC 94-86 Page 2
a. "[A]ny authority relied upon by the . . . [respondent] to disclose Raymond Agrinzone's incident report to the State of Connecticut, Department of Corrections."
b. "[A]ny written document which relates or refers to disclosure of Raymond Agrinzone's incident report to the State of Connecticut, Department of Corrections."
c. "Statutory requirements regarding maintenance and dissemination . . . [of] criminal records in CT. (April 1987) [p]repared by: Chief States (sic) Atty
. . . . [and] [m]emorandums and Updates from the Chief States (sic) Atty Office."
7. With respect to that portion of the complainant's request described in paragraph 6b., above, it is found that no such records exist.
8. With respect to that portion of the complainant's request described in paragraph 6a., above, it is found that the respondent had previously provided the complainant with statutory and documentary references by letter dated February 10, 1994. Under the circumstances presented in this case, it is found that providing the complainant with statutory citations constitutes acceptable compliance with that portion of the request seeking access to the statutory authority sought.
9. With respect to that portion of the complainant's request described in paragraph 6a., above, to the extent it seeks authority other than statutes for the disclosure of Mr. Agrinzone's incident report, it is found that the respondent had previously, in its letter of February 10, 1994, identified the records described in paragraph 6c., above, as responsive to the complainant's request.
10. The respondent claims that the records identified in paragraph 6c., above, are exempt from disclosure because they are produced by the Chief State's Attorney's office, that office is part of the Division of Criminal Justice and the Division of Criminal Justice is not subject to the public disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act pursuant to 1-19c, G.S.
11. Section 1-19c, G.S., states:
"For the purposes of subsection (a) of section 1-18a, the division of criminal justice shall not be deemed to be a public agency except in respect to its administrative functions."
Docket #FIC 94-86 Page 3
12. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that any of the requested records in its possession are exempt from disclosure under 1-19c, G.S., or under any other provision of law; or that the Division of Criminal Justice, or any other agency producing such records, has ever asserted an exemption to public disclosure with respect to the requested records.
13. It is therefore concluded that the records described in paragraph 6c., above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S., and that the respondent violated 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., when it refused to provide the complainant with copies of those records described in paragraph 6c., above.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. The respondent shall forthwith provide to the complainant free of charge a copy of those requested records more fully described at paragraph 6c. of the findings, above.
2. The remainder of the complaint is hereby dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 27, 1994.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-86 Page 4
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:
RAYMOND M. HASSETT, ESQ.
Hassett, George & Siegel, P.C.
567 Franklin Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114
WATERBURY POLICE DEPARTMENT
c/o Thomas K. McDonough, Esq.
Assistant to Corporation Counsel
236 Grand Street
Waterbury, CT 06702
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission