FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Ralph D. Sherman,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-309
State of Connecticut, Department
of Correction, Board of Pardons,
Respondents March 10, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 16, 1998, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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(1), G.S.

        2. By letter dated September 18, 1998, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with access to: the names and addresses of persons, including legal counsels, who contacted the respondent asking for forms for a non-inmate petition for pardon (hereinafter "petition"), for the period 7/1/98 to 9/18/98.

        3. Having failed to receive access to the requested records, by letter dated September 29, 1998 and filed October 7, 1998, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying him such access.

        4. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-19(a), G.S.

        5. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained…by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office…hours….

        6. It is found that, other than written requests for petitions which the respondent received from the complainant, which are not at issue in this matter, the only records which the respondent maintains responsive to the complainant’s request can be described as telephone intake sheets.

        7. The respondent contends that, prior to the request described in paragraph 2, above, it had never received a similar request and, further, that it has a long-standing practice of informing its callers that their calls will be kept confidential.

        8. However, an agency cannot shield public records from disclosure simply by giving assurances of confidentiality. Kuresczka v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 271, 280, 277 (1994).

        9. It is concluded that the respondent failed to prove that federal law or state statute permits it to withhold the records described in paragraph 2, above, and that, accordingly, the respondent violated 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide the complainant with access to such records.

 

        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 access to the records described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above.

        2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-19(a), G.S.

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 10, 1999.

 

 

 

_________________________

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:

 

Ralph D. Sherman
1001 Farmington Avenue
Suite 300
West Hartford, CT 06107
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
Board of Pardons
c/o Atty. Robert B. Fiske III
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-309FD/mrb03111999