FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Joseph P. Hughes,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1999-170
Lieutenant, Police Department, City
of Stratford, Records Division; and
Police Department, City of Stratford,
Records Division
Respondents August 11, 1999

        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 27, 1999 at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The records at issue were reviewed in camera.

        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 1-200(1), G.S., (formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.).

        2. It is found that by letter dated March 31, 1999, the complainant requested that the respondent lieutenant provide him with a copy of file number 95-1561 (hereinafter "requested records").

        3. Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainant, by letter dated and filed April 7, 1999, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying him a copy of the requested records.

        4. Section 1-210(a), G.S., (formerly 1-19(a), G.S.) provides:

Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file 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 or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212. [Emphasis added.]

        5. It is found that the respondents maintain the requested records, and such records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S., (formerly 1-19(a), G.S.).

        6. Following the hearing in this matter, the respondents submitted the records at issue to the Commission and an in camera review was conducted.

        7. The in camera records have been marked for identification purposes as IC 1999-170-01 through 1999-170-47. IC FIC 1999-170-13 is a blank page.

        8. The respondents contend that the records are exempt from disclosure in that they are medical records, they contain the name of a sexual assault victim, and contain investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the public.

        9. Section 1-210(b)(2), G.S., (formerly 1-19(b)(2), G.S.) permits a public agency to withhold from disclosure "medical … files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy."

        10. Section 1-210(b)(3), G.S., (formerly 1-19(b)(3), G.S.) further permits an agency to withhold from disclosure:

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 (A) the identity of informants not otherwise known or the identity of witnesses not otherwise known whose safety would be endangered or who would be subject to threat or intimidation if their identity was made known, (B) signed statements of witnesses, (C) information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to such action, (D) investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the general public, (E) arrest records of a juvenile, which shall also include any investigatory files, concerning the arrest of such juvenile, compiled for law enforcement purposes, (F) the name and address of the victim of a sexual assault under section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a, or injury or risk of injury, or impairing of morals under section 53-21, or of an attempt thereof or (G) uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to section 1-216

        11. It is found that most of the records constitute medical files, the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, within the meaning of 1-210(b)(2), G.S., (formerly 1-19(b)(2), G.S.) and therefore, such records are permissively exempt from disclosure.

        12. However, it is also found that the respondents failed to provide any evidence, and therefore failed to prove that the following records are exempt pursuant to 1-210(b)(2), G.S., and 1-210(b)(3), G. S., (formerly 1-19(b)(2), G.S., and 1-19(b)(3), G.S., respectively): IC FIC 1999-170-08 and 1999-170-09 (section describing events of 2/23/95 only, beginning on page 8 and ending on page 9); IC FIC 1999-170-12; IC FIC 1999-170-15; IC FIC 1999-170-19; IC FIC 1999-170-23 through 32; IC FIC 1999-170-35 through 40; and IC FIC 1999-170-45 through 46.

        13. It is therefore, concluded that the records described in paragraph 12, above, are not exempt from disclosure.

        14. Consequently, it is further concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act when they failed to provide the complainant with a copy of the records described in paragraph 11, above. However, the respondents violated 1-210(a), G.S., (formerly 1-19(a), G.S.) when they failed to provide the complainant with a copy of the records described in paragraph 12, above.

        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 provide the complainant with a copy of the records described in paragraph 12 of the findings, above, without charge.

        2. None of the findings and conclusions in this decision shall be used as the basis for imposing civil penalties against the respondents in this or any subsequent complaint.

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of

August 11, 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:

 

Joseph P. Hughes
P.O. Box 321101
Fairfield, CT 06432

 

Lieutenant, Police Department,
City of Stratford, Records Division;
and Police Department, City of Stratford,
Records Division
c/o Lieutenant Kenneth L. Bakalar
Stratford Police Department
900 Longbrook Avenue
Stratford, CT 06614
 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-170FD/mes/08111999