FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|Trenton Wright, Jr.,|
|against||Docket #FIC 1998-248|
|Chief of Police, Police
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 1998-230; Mark Reynolds and the Norwich Bulletin against Chief, Police Department, City of Willimantic; and Police Department, City of Willimantic; Docket #FIC 1998-231; Paul Lewis and Fox 61 News against Chief, Police Department, City of Willimantic; and Police Department, City of Willimantic; and Docket #FIC 1998-226; Trenton Wright, Jr. v. Chief, Police Department, City of Willimantic; and Police Department , City of Willimantic. The case caption has been corrected to reflect the fact that Willimantic is a city, not a town.
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 August 20, 1998, the complainant requested that the respondents provide him with the most current list of sexual offenders registered with [the police] department as required under Connecticut General Statutes 54-102r (hereinafter the list).
3. The Commission takes administrative notice of the Final Decision in the matter of Docket #FIC 1998-226; Trenton Wright, Jr. v. Chief, Police Department, City of Willimantic; and Police Department , City of Willimantic, and herein incorporates such decision, which concludes that the named respondents did not violate the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by denying the complainant access to the list at the time of his request.
4. It is found that during a press conference on August 26, 1998, the respondents informed the public that the list would be made available to all requesters.
5. By letter dated August 27, 1998, the respondent chief specifically informed the complainant that the list was available at the police department. It is further found that such letter was received by the complainant on August 31, 1998.
6. It is found that, during the morning hours of September 1, 1998, the complainant was given access to the list at police headquarters but was denied a copy of such list.
7. Having been so denied a copy of the list, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter dated and filed September 1, 1998, alleging that the respondents thereby violated the FOI Act. The complainant requested that civil penalties be imposed upon the respondents.
8. Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part states:
[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 receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15 .
9. Section 1-15(a), G.S., in relevant part provides that:
[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. The fee for any copy provided in accordance with the freedom of information act by all [municipal] public agencies shall not exceed fifty cents per page .
10. It is found that, upon becoming aware that the complainant had been denied a copy of the list, the respondent chief left a message for the complainant at his home informing the complainant that a copy was available for him and that such copy could be picked up at the police station. It is further found that such action took place within a few hours of the complainants departure from the police department on the morning of September 1, 1998.
11. It is found that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the respondents compliance with the mandates of §§1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., was prompt.
12. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate §§1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., by their actions in this matter.
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.
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:
Trenton Wright, Jr. 232 Mansfield Avenue Willimantic, CT 06226
Chief of Police, 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