FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Steven Edelman,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-197
Dawn Carnese, Legal Advisor,
State of Connecticut, Department
of Public Safety; and State of Connecticut,
Department of Public Safety,
Respondents April 14, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 21, 1998 at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.

        2. It is found that by letter dated February 6, 1998 the complainant requested that the respondents provide him with access to inspect all opinions, interpretations, rulings, memoranda, and similar records issued by or to lawyers within the respondent department, the office of the attorney general and the Connecticut judiciary pertaining to the construction, meaning or effect of 29-252(d), 29-262(d), 29-266(b) and 29-266(c), G.S.

        3. It is found that by letter dated February 17, 1998 respondent Carnese provided the complainant with a copy of certain records pertaining to 29-266, G.S.

        4. It is found that by letter dated May 18, 1998 the complainant renewed his request to the respondents, pointing out that respondent Carnese’s February 17, 1998 response provided no records pertaining to 29-252(d) and 29-262(d), G.S.

        5. It is found that by letter dated May 20, 1998 respondent Carnese informed the complainant that her February 17, 1998 response was intended as the complete response to the complainant’s request.

        6. It is found that by letter dated June 13, 1998 the complainant once again renewed his request, for records concerning 29-252(d) and 29-262(d), G.S.

        7. It is found that by letter dated June 18, 1998 respondent Carnese informed the complainant that his request would require research which the respondents are not obligated to do, any requests for opinions made by the respondents to the Office of the Attorney General are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(10), G.S., and the fact that the June 18, 1998 request was the complainant’s third request for the same records after having been advised by the respondents of their two prior responses was considered harassment. Respondent Carnese further requested that the complainant pay an amount of $2.00 which was outstanding for copies of records previously provided to the complainant by the respondents.

        8. Having failed to receive any additional records, the complainant, by letter dated June 24, 1998, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying him access to inspect the requested records.

        9. It is found that the complainant is trying to locate legal opinions and court decisions that deal with the issue of the jurisdiction of the State’s Codes and Standards Committee.

        10. It is found that the respondents are unable to identify any other records that would comply with the complainant’s request without conducting research, which the respondents are not required to do under the FOI Act.

        11. The complainant contends that because the respondents supplied him with two opinions on February 17, 1998, they are now precluded from claiming that to comply with his request would constitute research.

        12. It is found however, that the fact that the respondents conducted research before and were able to provide the complainant with records on February 17, 1998 does not now preclude them from refusing to undertake further research.

        13. Based upon the foregoing, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-19(a), G.S.

        14. With respect to the issue concerning respondent Carnese’s request to the complainant for payment of $2.00, as described in paragraph 7, above, it is found that the complainant requested that he be permitted to inspect records and not that he be provided with copies of records. However, since the respondent provided the complainant with copies of records the complainant may either return such copies to the respondents or pay the applicable fee if he chooses to keep such copies.

        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 April 14, 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:

 

Steven Edelman
Frog Pond
Windham Center, CT 06280
Dawn Carnese, Legal Advisor,
State of Connecticut, Department
of Public Safety; and State of
Connecticut, Department of
Public Safety
c/o Atty. Robert B. Fiske III
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
and
c/o Atty. Lynn D. Wittenbrink
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
 

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-197FD/mrb04151999