FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Michael C. Stumo,
against Docket #FIC 95-232
Joseph Croughwell, Chief of Police, Hartford Police Department,
Respondent February 28, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 9, 1996, 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 letter dated June 28, 1995, the complainant requested that the Hartford Police Department provide him with:
a. Any and all documents pertaining to the 1994
lieutenants examination conducted by the Hartford Police Department, including, but not limited to:
i. instructional material and criteria used by the grading panel to evaluate the candidates participating in the examination;
ii. the names, addresses and titles of all persons involved with conducting the examination;
iii. all questions, written and oral, which were presented to each candidate;
iv. all notes and comments pertaining to the examination made by each person involved with conducting the examination;
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v. all documents relating to any meeting which was held regarding the examination.
b. With respect to Richard Kemmet, Ezequeiel Laureano, Donald Rodrique, Joseph Croughwell, Robert Casati, Antonio Cancel, Timothy Hogan, Timothy Palmer, James Blanchette, Michael A. Manzi, Katherine A. Perez, William P. Reilly, Michael J. Fallon, Robert E. Carlson, Robert S. Rudewicz, Stephen Heslin, Marc P. Rubera, Richard M. Borofsky, and Carl Henderson, any and all documents relating to:
i. disciplinary actions;
ii. internal affairs investigations;
iii. the dates and general subject matter of all internal affairs investigations which have been completed and resulted in a finding of wrongdoing;
iv. the dates and general subject matter of all internal affairs investigations which have been completed and did not result in a finding of wrongdoing; and
v. the dates and general subject matter of all internal affairs investigations which have not been completed.
c. Any and all documents relating to the tests taken in 1994 and 1995 by Timothy Hogan for the purpose of evaluation for promotion.
3. By letter dated July 6, 1995, the respondent informed the complainant that he could not provide him with any documents because: a) he did not have custody of the information as requested in paragraphs 2a(i) and 2a(iii), above; and b) the remainder of the documents requested were exempt under 1-19(b)(4), G.S., and because the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act does not require disclosure of records which can be obtained through discovery.
4. By letter dated July 13, 1995, and filed July 14, 1995, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying his request. In addition, the complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties against the respondent.
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5. It is found that any documents in existence, which are responsive to the complainant's request, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
6. At the hearing on this matter, the respondent withdrew his claim concerning 1-19(b)(4), G.S., but maintained that the requested records were exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19b(b)(1), G.S.
7. It is found that the complainant is an attorney who represents an individual who filed a civil complaint against the Hartford Police Department and the respondent individually, alleging, among other claims, racial discrimination in the department's promotion practices.
8. It is found that in the litigation described in paragraph 7, above, the complainant filed discovery requests seeking the same records at issue in this matter, and that the respondent objected to the discovery requests.
9. Prior to its amendment in 1994, 1-19b(b)(1), G.S., provided that:
"Nothing in [the FOI Act] shall be deemed in any manner to ... affect the rights of litigants, including parties to administrative proceedings, under the laws of discovery of this state." (Emphasis added.)
10. Section 1-19b(b)(1), G.S., now provides that:
"Nothing in [the FOI Act] shall be deemed in any manner to ... limit the rights of litigants, including parties to administrative proceedings, under the laws of discovery of this state." (Emphasis added.)
11. Consequently, 1-19b(b)(1), G.S., does not provide a bar to disclosure of public records in this case.
12. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-19(a), G.S., by denying the complainant access to the requested records identified in paragraph 2a-c, above, which are in his possession.
13. The Commission has insufficient evidence to determine whether the records identified in paragraphs 2a(i) and 2a(iii), above, are maintained by the respondent.
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The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent shall immediately search his files to determine whether he in fact maintains the records described in paragraphs 2a(i) and 2a(iii) of the findings, above.
2. If the records described in paragraphs 2a(i) and 2a(iii) of the findings, above, are maintained by the respondent, he shall immediately provide the complainant with access to inspect, or copies of, such records.
3. If the records described in paragraphs 2a(i) and 2a(iii) of the findings, above, are not maintained by the respondent, the respondent shall immediately execute an affidavit detailing the nature and extent of his search and stating that he does not maintain such records, which affidavit shall immediately be provided to the complainant upon completion.
4. The respondent shall immediately provide the complainant with access to inspect, or copies of, the remainder of the records identified in paragraphs 2a-c of the findings, above.
5. The respondent shall fulfill the terms of this order, as described in paragraphs 1 through 4, above, no later than one week from the date of receipt of the Commission's final decision in this matter.
6. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of 1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 28, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 95-232 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:
Michael C. Stumo, Esq.
Brignole and Terk, LLC
73 Wadsworth Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Joseph Croughwell, Chief of Police, Hartford Police Department
c/o Helen Apostolidis, Esq.
Assistant Corporation Counsel
550 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission