FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Peter Bosco,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2005-031

Chief, Police Department,

Town of Wethersfield,

 
  Respondent November 9, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 16, 2005, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared 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 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that on May 28, 2004, the complainant filed a criminal complaint with the Wethersfield Police Department alleging that an enraged hunter pointed what the complainant believed to be a loaded high-tech rifle at the complainant’s face (“criminal complaint”).

 

3.  It is found that soon thereafter the respondent department commenced an investigation into the criminal complaint.

 

4.  It is found that following the investigation the respondent prepared a report (“report”).

 

5.  It is found that, by letter dated January 10, 2005, the complainant requested that the respondent permit him to review case file #04-10681, i.e., the report (hereinafter “requested record”).

 

6.  It is found that the respondent denied the request by letter dated January 11, 2005, indicating that the report is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.

 

7.  Having failed to receive access to the requested record, the complainant, by letter of complaint dated January 21, 2005, and filed on January 24, 2005, appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying him a copy of the requested record.

 

8.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours…. 

 

[Emphasis added].

 

9.  It is found that the respondent maintains the requested record and such record is a public record within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

10.  The respondent contends that the requested record is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S., which provides:

 

Nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require 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 crime, if disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of . . . uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to section 1-216....

 

            11.  Section 1-216, G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

records of law enforcement agencies consisting of uncorroborated allegations that an individual has engaged in criminal activity shall be reviewed by the law enforcement agency one year after the creation of such records.  If the existence of the alleged criminal activity cannot be corroborated within ninety days of the commencement of such review, the law enforcement agency shall destroy such records.

 

            12.  Immediately following the hearing in this matter, the respondent submitted the report to the Commission for an in camera inspection (hereinafter (“in camera records”).  The in camera records comprise 30 pages, which have been designated page #s IC 2005-031-1 through IC 2005-031-30 for identification purposes.[1]  The in camera records consist of an incident report, supplemental reports, statements of the complainant, the suspect, and another individual, the case closure report, communications from and to the Office of Victim Advocate, and other records concerning this FOI appeal, such as the complainant’s letter of request, described in paragraph 5, above, the respondent’s denial, described in paragraph 6, above, and notices from the FOI Commission.

 

            13.  After reviewing the in camera records it is found that, the following pages constitute records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, and that disclosure of such records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(G) and 1-216, G.S.:

 

page #s IC 2005-031-1 through IC 2005-031-11, IC 2005-031-17 through IC 2005-031-25, IC 2005-031-29A and IC 2005-031-29B.

  

14.  It is therefore concluded that the records described in paragraph 13, above, are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(G) and 1-216, G.S.

 

15.  It is further concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-210(a), G.S., when he failed to provide the complainant with access to the records described in paragraph 13, above.

 

16.  However, it is found that the following records do not fall within the exemption described in paragraph 13, above; that the complainant already has a copy of most, if not all of such records; and that such records are not the records at issue in this appeal:

 

page #s IC 2005-031-12 (the complainant’s records request); IC 2005-031-13 (the respondent’s denial); IC 2005-031-14 through IC 2005-031-16 (communications from the Office of Victim Advocate); IC 2005-031-26 (letter from the FOI Commission); IC 2005-031-27A and IC 2005-031-27B (complainant’s complaint to the FOI Commission);  IC 2005-031-28 (duplicate copy of the respondent’s denial); and IC 2005-031-30 (Notice of Hearing from the FOI Commission).

 

17.  At the hearing in this matter, it was apparent that at the crux of this complaint is the complainant’s belief that the respondent did not thoroughly and properly investigate the criminal complaint, and that he takes issue with the fact that no one was arrested and prosecuted in connection with such criminal complaint.  As was explained to the complainant at the hearing in this matter, such issue is beyond the jurisdiction of this Commission.

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 November 9, 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:

 

Peter Bosco

15 Mason Drive

New Britain, CT 06052

 

Chief, Police Department,

Town of Wethersfield

c/o John W. Bradley, Jr., Esq.

Rome McGuigan, PC

One State Street

Hartford, CT 06103-3101

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2005-031FD/paj/11/15/2005

 

 

                       

 

 



[1] Two pages contain printed material on both sides.  The pages are IC 2005-031-27 and IC 2005-031-29, which have been further designated IC 2005-031-27A and 27B, and IC 2005-031-29A and 29B.