FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Docket #FIC 1996-466
September 10, 1997
In the Matter of a Complaint by Shelley J. Lacey, Complainant
Legal Advisor, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Respondent
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 31 and June 13, 1997 at which times the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The subject of the records, Trooper Peter Naples requested and was granted intervenor status. An in camera inspection was conducted with respect to the records of Internal Affairs Investigation 94-047.
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of § 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. It is found that in May 1996, the complainant requested that the respondent department provide her with a copy of the records of Internal Affairs ("IA") investigation 82-84, 86-051 and all IA investigations since May 1994, in which Trooper Peter Naples was named ("requested records").
3. It is found that following notification by the respondent of the complainants request, Naples, on May 28, 1996, objected to the release of the requested records, claiming that disclosure would constitute an invasion of his privacy.
4. It is found that the respondent then denied the complainants request by letter dated June 6, 1996, on the basis of Naples objection. In addition, the respondent denied the request indicating that the records retention period had expired for IA 82-84 and 86-051, and that IA 94-047 contained witness statements exempt from disclosure pursuant to § 1-19(b)(3)(B), G.S.
5. It is found that the complainant renewed her request to the respondent by letter dated September 20, 1996.
6. Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainant, by letter dated September 26, 1996 and filed on October 1, 1996 appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying her a copy of the requested records.
7. It is found that the records at issue in this appeal are IA 82-84, IA 86-051 and IA 94-047 and such records are public records within the meaning of § § 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.
8. It is also found that the records of IA 82-84 and IA 86-051 no longer exist because they were destroyed pursuant to a duly authorized 1994 records disposal order issued to the respondent department by the states Public Records Administrator.
9. With respect to IA 94-047, it is found that the records of such investigation exist and are maintained by the Department of Public Safety ("DPS").
10. It is also found that the records of IA 94-047, described in paragraph 9 of the findings, above, consist of a citizen complaint filed against Naples alleging misconduct, the investigation and findings of DPS, and witness statements.
11. It is further found that the allegations against Naples were not sustained by DPS.
12. It is concluded that the records of IA-047, described in paragraphs 9 and 10 of the findings, above, are similar file information within the meaning of § 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
13. The respondent and Naples contend that disclosure of the records of IA 94-047 would be an invasion of Naples privacy.
14. It is found that the records of IA 94-047 relate to legitimate matters of public concern.
15. It is also found that disclosure of IA 94-047 would not be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
16. It is therefore, concluded that the records of IA 94-047 are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to § 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
17. The respondent also contends that all of the records of IA 94-047 are exempt from disclosure pursuant to § 1-19(b)(3)(G), G. S., and portions are exempt pursuant to § 1-19(b)(3)(B), G.S.
18. Section 1-19(b)(3), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of:
records of law enforcement agencies . . . 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 . . . (B) signed statements of witnesses . . . or (G) uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to section 1-20c. [Emphasis added].
19. It is found that IA 94-047 was a non-criminal police internal affairs investigation and the administrative disposition of such investigation.
20. It is therefore, found that the records of IA 94-047 were not compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime within the meaning of § 1-19(b)(3), G.S.
21. Accordingly, it is concluded that the exemption at § 1-19(b)(3), G.S. is inapplicable to the records of IA 94-047.
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 the complainant with a copy of the records of IA 94-047.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 10, 1997.
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
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:
Shelley J. Lacey
57 LePage Drive
Southington, CT 06489
Legal Advisor, State of Connecticut, Department of Public
c/o Loida John-Nicholson
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
c/o Jeffrey L. Ment
Rome McGuigan Sabanosh, P.C.
1 State Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission