OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|John Vivo III,|
|against||Docket #FIC 2004-174|
|Respondent||March 23, 2005|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 23, 2005, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket# FIC 2004-268; John Vivo III v. Chief, Police Department, City of Bridgeport.
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 §1-200(1), G.S.
2. It is found that, by letter dated March 17, 2004, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of all records related to file #9402230265, arrest #94-2361, case#94D-582, and the incident of February 23, 1994. It is found that the requested records relate to the arrest and conviction of the complainant over a decade ago.
3. By letter dated April 2, 2004, and filed with the Commission on April 7, 2004, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information [FOI] Act by denying him copies of the records described in paragraph 2, above. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant informed the Commission that, since the filing of the complaint in this matter, the respondent had provided copies of certain requested records to him, but that he had not been provided with all requested records.
4. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:
[e]xcept 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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212….
5. Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part: “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”
6. It is concluded that the records provided to the complainant as described in paragraph 3, above, are public records within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S.
7. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant contended that the respondent has withheld specific records that he is required to maintain pursuant to police regulations.
8. However, it is found that the respondent has conducted a thorough search of his offices, including the files of the arresting officers, as well as of the storage facilities of the Bridgeport Police Department, and that all requested records which the respondent keeps on file or maintains, except signed statements of witnesses, have been provided to the complainant in a series of mailings commencing May 6, 2004.
9. It is also found that any other requested records that may exist are likely contained in the court trial records, which is consistent with police and prosecution practice. It is further found that the respondent has repeatedly encouraged the complainant to request his trial record from the court, but that the complainant refuses to do so.
10. With respect to the signed statements of witnesses, it is concluded that such records are public records within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S.
11. The respondent contends that §1-210(b)(3)(B), G.S., exempts signed statements of witnesses from mandatory disclosure.
12. Section 1-210(b)(3)(B), G.S., provides in relevant part that nothing in the FOI Act shall require the disclosure of:
“records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of a crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of . . . signed statements of witnesses. . . .”
13. It is found that the only records withheld from the complainant, are signed statements of witnesses within the meaning of §1-210(b)(3)(B), G.S. It is found that such records are exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of such provision.
14. It is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint.
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 March 23, 2005.
Petrea A. Jones
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:
John Vivo III
Cheshire Correctional Institution
900 Highland Avenue
Cheshire, CT 06410
Chief, Police Department,
City of Bridgeport
c/o Melanie J. Howlett, Esq.
Assistant City Attorney
999 Broad Street, 2nd floor
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Petrea A. Jones
Acting Clerk of the Commission