FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Huygens McLean,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-536

John Sieminski, Warden, State of

Connecticut, Department of Correction,

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution;

and Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

 
  Respondents August 8, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 13, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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.).

 

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.

 

2.  It is found that, by application dated October 2, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondents, requesting copies of following records:

 

a. “The incident report from March 7, 2006;”

 

b.  “Pictures of the incident from March 7, 2006;”

 

c.  “All officers name that was . . . involved;” and

 

d.  “All nurses & doctor names that was involved.”

 

3.  It is found that the respondents did not respond to the complainant’s request for records in October, 2006. 

 

4.  By letter of complaint dated October 10, 2006, and filed October 13, 2006, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by not complying with his request for records.  The complainant also requested the imposition of civil penalties against the respondents.

 

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 that:

 

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 . . .  (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 that:

 

Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.

 

            8.  It is found that the respondents maintain the records described in paragraph 2, and it is therefore concluded that such records are “public records” and must be disclosed in accordance with 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure.

 

            9.  It is found that the respondents first became aware of the complainant’s request in March, 2007, and provided copies of the requested documents to the complainant on March 8, 2007.

 

            10.  It is found that the respondents explained the delay between the complainant’s October 2, 2006 request and the provision of records delivered to the complainant on March 8, 2007 as a breakdown in the respondents’ chain of communication.

 

            11.  It is found that, while the respondents did not intentionally withhold the requested documents from the complainant, they violated 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with copies of the requested records promptly.

            12.  Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of civil penalties.

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

1.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness requirements of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 


Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 8, 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:

 

Huygens McLean, #265576

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution

1153 East Street South

Suffield, CT 06080

 

John Sieminski, Warden, State of

Connecticut, Department of Correction,

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution;

and Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction

c/o Nicole Anker, Esq.

Department of Correction

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT 06109

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2006-536FD/paj/8/17/2007