FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Steven Edelman,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-216
Lieutenant Mark Coleman, Commanding
Officer, State of Connecticut, Department
of Public Safety, Division of State Police,
Troop K; and State of Connecticut,
Department of Public Safety, Division of
State Police, Troop K,
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 June 25, 1998 the complainant requested that the respondents provide him with access to inspect all recordings made of conversations that occurred with Troop K- Colchester on June 25, 1998 between 10:30 am and 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm, especially those parts pertaining to telephone calls received from the complainant.

        3. It is found that by letter dated July 6, 1998, the respondents acknowledged receipt of the request and informed the complainant that such request was being reviewed and a response would be forthcoming as soon as possible.

        4. It is found that by letter dated July 9, 1998, the respondents denied the complainant’s request indicating that the requested recordings were exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(C), G.S.

        5. Having been denied access to the recordings the complainant, by letter dated July 21, 1998, and filed on July 23, 1998, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying him access to inspect the requested recordings. The complainant requested that the Commission impose civil penalties upon the respondents.

        6. It is found that the respondents maintain the requested recordings and such records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(5) and 1-19(a), G.S.

        7. It is found that on June 25, 1998 the complainant telephoned the respondent Troop K twice and complained about a deputy sheriff’s visit to the complainant’s property.

        8. It is also found that a malicious mischief charge is currently pending against the complainant. The respondents contend that on the advice of the state’s attorneys office, they denied the complainant access to the recordings of his telephone conversations with Troop K on June 25, 1998 about the deputy sheriff’s visit, described in paragraph 7, above.

        9. Section 1-19(b)(3)(C), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to such action.

        10. It is found that the respondents failed to prove that disclosure of the requested recordings, specifically, the recordings of the complainant’s telephone calls to Troop K on June 25, 1998, would be prejudicial to the pending malicious mischief action, within the meaning of 1-19(b)(3)(C), G.S.

        11. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondents violated 1-19(a), G.S., when they denied the complainant access to the requested recordings.

        12. The Commission in its discretion denies the request for civil penalties.

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

        1. Forthwith, the respondents shall permit the complainant access to the requested recordings, specifically, to the recordings of the complainant’s telephone calls to Troop K and conversations between the complainant and Troop K on June 25, 1998.

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

 

          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
Lieutenant Mark Coleman,
Commanding Officer,
State of Connecticut,
Department of Public Safety,
Division of State Police,
Troop K; and State of
Connecticut, Department of
Public Safety, Division of
State Police, Troop K
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
and Timothy J. Sugrue
Executive Assistant State’s Attorney
300 Corporate Place
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-216FD/mrb04151999