FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Paul Guilmette,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-176
Chief of Police, Canton Police Department,
Town of Canton; and Canton Police
Department, Town of Canton,
Respondents October 14, 1998

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 2, 1998,
at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts
and presented testimony and argument on the complaint.

     After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and
conclusions of law are reached:

     1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(1) G.S.

     2. By letter dated May 28, 1998, the complainant requested of the respondent
chief all information and reports regarding the complainant and his wife concerning an
illegal drug investigation in April 1998, including police incident reports, intelligence
reports and communications accusing the complainant of illegal activity, including tape
recordings and reports of such communications.

     3. By letter dated June 5, 1998, the respondent chief denied the complainant’s
request, citing the exemption to disclosure set forth in 1-19(b)(3)(G), G.S.

     4. Section 1-19(b)(3)(G), G.S., provides in relevant part that nothing in the
Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act shall be construed to require disclosure of:

     records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection orinvestigation 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. . . .

     5. Section 1-20c, G.S., in turn, provides:

[e]xcept for records the retention of which is otherwise controlled by law
or regulation, 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.

     6. It is found that the respondents possess only the following two records which
are responsive to the complainant’s request: a tape recording of an anonymous telephone
accusation against the complainant, which accusation caused an investigation to be
initiated; and an incident report containing a summary of the investigation in question.

     7. It is also found that the respondents, after a good faith investigation, could not
corroborate the allegations of criminal activity made by the anonymous telephone caller
and, consequently, the respondents have suspended the investigation in question and will
destroy the records described in paragraph 6, above, in accordance with 1-20c, G.S.

     8. It is therefore concluded that the records described in paragraph 6, above, are
exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(G) and 1-20c, G.S., and that the
respondents did not violate the FOI Act by denying access thereto.

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

     1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

     2. Although the Commission is compelled to dismiss this complaint on the basis
of current law, particularly as construed in Bona v. FOI Commission, 44 Conn. App. 622,
638 (1997) (which, notwithstanding the very language of 1-19(b)(3), G.S., holds that a
law enforcement agency does not have to consider the “public interest” in applying the
exemption), the Commission urges the respondents to voluntarily disclose the subject
records in this case. There is no strong public interest in withholding these limited
records from the complainant, and if the complainant can identify the anonymous person who made the false complaint against him, the public interest will be better served by bringing that person to justice if appropriate.

     Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of
October 14, 1998.

_________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
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:

Paul Guilmette
c/o Atty. Susan Dixon
Goring & Dixon, LLC
40 Park Place
Winsted, CT 06098

Chief of Police, Canton Police Department,
Town of Canton; and Canton Police
Department, Town of Canton,
c/o Atty. Henry J. Zaccardi
Shipman & Goodwin, LLP
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103


__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission


FIC1998-176FD/mrb10151998