FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Diana D. Hede,
against Docket #FIC 95-315
John Ambrogio, Chief of Police, Hamden Police Department,
Respondent May 22, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 27, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared 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. It is found that by letter dated August 9, 1995, the complainant requested that she be provided with copies of all police reports and investigation documents concerning herself, her daughter, Charles Douglas Theroux, and Tracey M. Norton, from June 1994 through the present ("August request").
3. It is found that by letter dated August 24, 1995, the respondent's attorney advised the complainant that her August request had been referred to her for review and research, and a written response would be forthcoming as "expeditiously as possible."
4. It is found that with cover letter dated September 11, 1995, the respondent's counsel provided the complainant with a copy of an August 9, 1995 case incident report ("incident report"), and advised the complainant that additional documentation was being withheld from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(B), 1-19(b)(3)(C), 1-19(b)(3)(G), and 1-20c, G.S.
5. By letter of complaint dated September 14, 1995, and filed with this Commission on September 15, 1995, the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to promptly respond to, and fully comply with her August request.
Docket #FIC 95-315 Page Two
6. In her complaint to the Commission, the complainant also requested that a civil penalty be imposed against the respondent in this matter.
7. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
8. It is found that the respondent conducted investigations into allegations of criminal conduct or activity allegedly concerning or involving each of the four individuals identified in paragraph 2 of the findings, above.
9. It is found that by February 1995 the respondent's investigations into the alleged criminal activity involving those persons identified in paragraph 2 of the findings, above, had been concluded or terminated.
10. At the hearing on this matter, the respondent argued that the requested records contain uncorroborated allegations of criminal conduct and are therefore exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(G), G.S., and subject to destruction in accordance with the provisions of 1-20c, G.S.
11. In material part, 1-19(b)(3)(G), G.S., provides that disclosure shall not be required of:
(3) records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of ... (G) uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to section 1-20c; ....
12. In pertinent part, 1-20c, G.S., provides:
records of law enforcement agencies consisting of uncorroborated allegations that an individual has engaged in criminal activity shall be reviewed by the law enforcement agency one year after the creation of such records. If the existence of the alleged criminal activity cannot be corroborated within ninety days of the commencement of such review, the law enforcement agency shall destroy such records.
13. The respondent submitted the documentation relating to those investigations, totalling thirty-seven pages and numbered "95-315-1" through "95-315-16", to the Commission for in camera inspection pursuant to 1-21j-35(f) of the Commission's regulations.
Docket #FIC 95-315 Page Three
14. After conducting an in camera inspection of the records submitted by the respondent the following findings are made:
a) with respect to in camera document ("IC") 95-315-1, the respondent has not cited, and the Commission cannot ascertain, any criminal activity, as defined in the Connecticut General Statutes or the United States Code, to which the allegations contained in this record might apply;
b) with respect to IC 95-315-2, the respondent has not cited, and the Commission cannot ascertain, any criminal activity, as defined in the Connecticut General Statutes or the United States Code, to which the allegations contained in this record might apply; nevertheless, corroboration of the allegations contained in IC 95-315-2 is found in IC 95-315-10, IC 95-315-11 and IC 95-315-12;
c) corroboration of the allegations contained in IC 95-315-3 is found in IC 95-315-4 and IC 95-315-5;
d) corroboration of the allegations contained in IC 95-315-4 is found in IC 95-315-6;
e) IC 95-315-7 and IC 95-315-15 are narrative summaries of investigation efforts, findings and recommendations concerning two separate allegations;
f) corroboration of the allegations contained in IC 95-315-8 is found in IC 95-315-10;
g) corroboration of the allegations contained in IC 95-315-9 is found in IC 95-315-2 and IC 95-315-10;
h) corroboration of the allegations contained in IC 95-315-11 is found in IC 95-315-10 and IC 95-315-12; and
i) IC 95-315-13 and IC 95-315-14 do not contain allegations, but rather document the existence of certain audio cassette recordings containing statements of Norton and C. D. Theroux.
j) with respect to IC 95-315-16, the respondent has not cited, and the Commission cannot ascertain, any criminal activity, as defined in the Connecticut General Statutes or the United States Code, to which the allegations contained in this record might apply; nevertheless, corroboration of the allegations contained in IC 95-315-16 is found in IC 95-315-16.
Docket #FIC 95-315 Page Four
15. Therefore, it is found that the records submitted for in camera inspection do not constitute uncorroborated allegations of criminal activity, within the meaning of 1-19(b)(3)(G) and 1-20c, G.S.
16. Consequently, it is concluded that the records submitted for in camera inspection are not exempt from public disclosure under 1-19(b)(3)(G) and 1-20c, G.S., and that the respondent violated 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S. by not providing the complainant with prompt access to the subject records.
17. The Commission declines to issue a civil penalty in this case.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Forthwith, the respondent shall provide the complainant with a copy of the requested records, as more fully described in paragraph 13 of the findings, above, free of charge, and furnish to the complainant an affidavit stating that the records provided constitute the only records responsive to the complainant's request.
2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the public records requirements set forth in 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
3. In complying with paragraph 1 of this order, the respondent may redact the names and personally identifying information of third parties who are not the subjects of the incidents or investigations in question.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 22, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 95-315 Page Five
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:
Diana D. Hede, DDS
2480 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
John Ambrogio, Chief of Police, Hamden Police Department
c/o Susan Gruen, Esq.
Hamden Town Attorney
2372 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission