FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Paul Lewis and Fox 61 News,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-231
Chief, Police Department,
City of Willimantic; and Police
Department, City of Willimantic,
Respondents December 9, 1998
            	
	       The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 1, 
1998, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain 
facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of 
hearing, this case was consolidated with Docket #FIC 1998-226; Trenton Wright, Jr. 
against Chief, Police Department, City of Willimantic; and Police Department, City of 
Willimantic; Docket #FIC 1998-230; Mark Reynolds and the Norwich Bulletin v. Chief, 
Police Department, City of Willimantic; and Police Department, City of Willimantic; and 
Docket #FIC 1998-248; Trenton Wright, Jr. against Chief of Police, Police Department, 
City of Willimantic; and Police Department , City of Willimantic.
	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.   It is found that, on August 13, 1998, an eleven year old child was reported 
missing to the respondent department.  It is further found that, as a result of the fact that 
such child was missing, many of the child’s relatives, friends and neighbors, as well as 
many people in the surrounding community, were distraught.  
	3.   It is found that the major crimes unit of the state police was called in on the 
case in its early stages. 
	4.   It is found that, in the early morning hours of August 14, 1998, the missing 
child was discovered, the apparent victim of a homicide. 
	5.   It is found that alarm arose in the community when the crime was announced 
shortly thereafter.  Specifically, it is found that members of said community were fearful 
for their children and enraged at the unknown perpetrator of such crime.  It is further 
found that verbal threats were made against the life of such perpetrator in the presence of 
police officers.
	6.   It is further found that, as a result of the alarm described in paragraph 5, 
above, the respondent chief was concerned about the possibility of vigilantism and 
interference with the murder investigation.  
	7.   It is found that, on August 14, 1998, and for several days thereafter, the 
complainants verbally requested that the respondents provide them with access to the 
Megan’s Law list (hereinafter “the list”). 
	8.   At all times relevant to this appeal, Megan’s Law, 54-102r, G.S., required the 
registration of persons convicted of certain sexual assault crimes with the local chief of 
police or resident state trooper for the municipality in which such persons reside.  Such 
registration included the following information regarding each registrant:  name, 
including all aliases used, address, social security number, inmate number, crime for 
which convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, date and place 
of conviction or finding of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, probation 
termination date or sentence termination date or date of termination of commitment to the 
Psychiatric Security Review Board, as the case may be, and a complete description of the 
person including photograph and fingerprints.
	9.   It is found that the respondents maintained a registration record as required by 
Megan’s Law, and as described in paragraph 8, above, and that such record is the list 
requested by the complainants as described in paragraph 7, above.  It is further found that 
the list is a public record within the meaning of 1-19(a), G.S.
	10.  Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[e]xcept as otherwise 
provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any 
public agency…shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect 
such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such 
records….”
	11.  It is found that, in conjunction with the state police and state’s attorney’s 
office, the respondents denied the complainants access to the list.
	
	12.  Having been denied access to the list, the complainants appealed to the 
Commission by letter dated and filed August 24, 1998, alleging that the respondents 
thereby violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.    
	
	13.   The respondents contend that 1-19(b)(3), G.S., exempted the list from 
disclosure at the time such list was denied to the complainants.  
	14.   Section 1-19(b)(3), G.S., does not apply since this list was developed 
prior to the incident and was independent of the police investigation.
	15.  It is further concluded that the respondents did violate 1-19(a), G.S., by
denying the complainant access to the list at the time of his request.
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1.  Henceforth, the respondents shall comply with the Freedom of Information 
Act provisions.
 
	2.  No civil penalties will be imposed.  
	3.   The Commission notes that the respondents were under tremendous pressure 
to secure an arrest of the perpetrator, that they acted in good faith in this matter, and that 
they provided access to the list within hours of the arrest. 


	Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of 
December 9, 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 Lewis and Fox 61 News 
One Corporate Center
Hartford, CT 06103 
Chief, Police Department, 
City of Willimantic; and 
Police Department, City of 
Willimantic
c/o Atty. Richard S. Cody
21 Main Street, PO Box 425
Mystic, CT 06355




__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1998-231FD/mrb12171998