FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket #FIC 2006-206|
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
|Respondent||March 28, 2007|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 11, 2006, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction. See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.).
Before the hearing, by letter dated August 23, 2006 and received September 7, 2006, the complainant had requested a continuance of the hearing, because he wished to file exhibits prior to the hearing, and because he sought to object to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the respondent. That request was denied by the hearing officer on the date it was received. At the hearing, the complainant renewed his motion for a continuance, additionally asserting personal reasons for seeking a continuance. That request was also denied. After approximately 90 minutes of testimony, exhibits and argument on the substance of the complaint, the hearing was continued because not all of the allegations contained in the complaint had been addressed by the complainant, and also to give the complainant an opportunity to offer additional exhibits, as he had requested in his original motion for a continuance. At that time, the complainant agreed to the continuation of the hearing, and later submitted dates when he was available. The hearing was subsequently scheduled to continue on October 23, 2006.
However, by letter dated September 25, 2006, the complainant advised the hearing officer:
… I have initiated a civil action with the Superior Court, Judicial District of Tolland at Rockville, against the FOI Commission alleging various violations of my protected federal and state constitutional rights to due process and equal protection of the law involving the hearing which had taken place before you on September 11, 2006.
The lawsuit seeks to have the September 11th hearing struck down as unconstitutional and also seeks various injunctive relief.…
Therefore, I will not be attending any future FOI hearings in the above-entitled matter unless the Superior Court dictates otherwise.…
The hearing was nonetheless opened on October 23, 2006, at which time complainant refused to leave his cell in order to participate.
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. By letter of complaint filed April 21, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by not complying with his requests for public records.
3. It is found that the complainant made a written request dated April 3, 2006 to the respondent for any and all records pertaining to the confiscation of “numerous papers” from the complainant during the period February 15, 2006 through March 31, 2006, “and any other dates thereafter,” by the “NCI-Security Division/Intelligence Unit by the NCI administration.” The complainant asserted that he was indigent and requested a waiver of fees.
4. It is also found that the complainant made another written request dated April 7, 2006 to the respondent for the following records dated February 1, 2006 through April 7, 2006 pertaining to the complainant, again asserting his indigence and requesting a waiver of fees:
1. “Disciplinary Report”;
2. “Disciplinary Process Summary Report’;
3. “Disciplinary Investigation Report”;
4. “Disciplinary Supplementary Information”;
5. “Disciplinary Hearing Appeal”;
6. “Incident Report”;
7. “Use of Force Report”;
8. “Medical Incident Report”;
9. “Contraband/Criminal Physical Evidence Tag and Chain of Control”;
10. “Any and all inmate and/or DOC prison employee statements”;
11. “RT-67 computer printout of the undersigned”;
12. “Any and all control and/or utility log book entries, written post, station and/or Northern Correctional Institution (NCI) facility orders covering the areas of the One East Housing Unit, the One West Housing Unit, and the NCI medical ward/unit”;
13. “Any and all Activity Sheets and Tier Sheets covering the areas of the One East Housing Unit, the One West Housing Unit and the NCI medical ward/unit, which identifies the inmate’s full name, their inmate numbers and cell housing assignment number….”
14. “Any and all current RT-50 computer printout of each and every inmate listed in the sheets described in Paragraph 13, above”;
15. “Any and all collective bargaining agreements (labor contracts) between the Connecticut State Department of Correction (DOC) and the prison guards and prison guard supervisors’ labor union, representatives, with any and all attachments which [are] currently in effect”;
16. “Any and all contract agreements to provide medical, mental health, pharmacy and dental service to Connecticut inmates entered between the DOC and the University of Connecticut Health Center-Correctional Managed Health Care, with any and all attachments which [are] currently in effect”;
17. “Any and all videotapes and/or disk captured by the fix[ed] ceiling security cameras [that have] full coverage of the entire NCI-One East Housing Unit”;
18. “Any and all videotapes and/or disk captured by the fix[ed] ceiling security cameras [that have] full coverage of the entire NCI-One West Housing Unit – strictly for the dates of March 10, 2006 through March 13, 2006”;
19. “Any and all videotapes and/or disk captured by the fix[ed] ceiling security cameras [that have] full coverage of the undersign[ed] when he was housed and/or assigned to a NCI medical ward/unit cell – strictly for the dates of February 15, 2006 through February 18, 2006”; and
20. “Any and all videotapes and/or disk captured at the NCI by hand-held portable video cameras of the undersign[ed]”.
5. Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:
“Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
6. 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, (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.
7. Section 1-212(a)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part:
Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. The fee for any copy provided in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act:
(1) By an executive, administrative or legislative office of the state, a state agency or a department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official of the state, including a committee of, or created by, such an office, agency, department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official, and also including any judicial office, official or body or committee thereof but only in respect to its or their administrative functions, shall not exceed twenty-five cents per page ….
8. Additionally, §1-212(d)(1), G.S., provides: “The public agency shall waive any fee provided for in this section when: (1) The person requesting the records is an indigent individual ….”
9. It is found that the requested records, to the extent they exist, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
10. With respect to the complainant’s April 7, 2006 request described in paragraph 4, above, it is found that the respondent provided copies of all records responsive to paragraphs 1 through 11 of that request.
11. It is concluded that the respondent did not violate §1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., with respect to paragraphs 1 through 11 of the complainant’s April 7, 2006 request.
12. With respect to the remaining paragraphs 12 through 20 of the complainant’s April 7, 2006 request, and also with respect to the complainant’s April 3, 2006 request described in paragraph 3, above, it is found that the complainant failed to prosecute those portions of his complaint, by refusing to participate in the continued hearing.
13. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., with respect to paragraphs 12 through 20 of the complainant’s April 7, 2006 request, or with respect to any portion of the complainant’s April 3, 2006 request.
14. With respect to any claim of indigence, it is found that the complainant failed to prosecute this portion of his complaint, by refusing to participate in the continued hearing.
15. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate §1-212(d)(1), G.S.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 28, 2007.
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:
Northern Correctional Institution
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Petrea A. Jones
Acting Clerk of the Commission