FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Jeffrey Smith,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-503

Chief, Police Department,

City of New London,

 
  Respondent September 12, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 15, 2007, at which time the complainant and 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.).

 

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 dated September 13, 2006, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of the following:

 

a.       “any and all supplemental reports generated by detective David Gigliotti regarding his participation in connection with a Connecticut state police troop F case  #F-98-264903;”

b.      “any and all notes generated by Detective David Gigliotti regarding his participation in connection with a Connecticut  State Police Troop F case #F-98-264903;”

c.       “any and all supplemental reports generated by any other New London police officer regarding their participation in connection with Connecticut State Police Troop F case #F-98-264903;” and

d.      “any and all notes generated by any other New London police officer regarding their participation in connection with Connecticut State Police Troop F case #F-98-264903.”

 

3.      It is found that by letter dated September 24, 2006 and filed on September 27, 2006, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his September 13, 2006 request.

 

4.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

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.

 

5.      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 . . . receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

6.      Section 1-212(a), 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.”

 

7.      It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

8.      It is found that by letter dated September 19, 2006 a Sergeant Gregory L. Moreau responded to the complainant on behalf of the respondent and informed him that the New London Police Department (hereinafter “NLPD”) does not maintain records of the Connecticut State Police and suggested that the complainant make his request directly to the Connecticut State Police.

 

9.      It is found that officers from the NLPD assisted the Connecticut State Police in an investigation of the complainant which investigation included approximately 45 visits to the complainant’s home before his arrest. 

 

10.   At the hearing on this matter, the complainant contended that the New London police officers described in paragraph 9, above, took notes while they were at his home.  The complainant contended that such notes, and any reports that were generated from those notes, would be maintained by the respondent and should have been provided to him pursuant to his request.  The complainant also contended that some superior officer within the NLPD must have issued an order assigning the New London police officers to assist the Connecticut State Police.  The complainant contended that the respondent should have records related to such assignments along with any records that reflect how those officers reported back to that superior officer.  The complainant contended that such records are responsive to his request and should have been provided to him.

 

11.   It is found that the respondent conducted a search for any records responsive to the complainant’s request by running the complainant’s name and the dates he provided through its data system which system indicated that the NLPD did not maintain any records with the complainant’s name and those dates. 

 

12.   It is found that the respondent did not search the NLPD’s files for records responsive to the complainant’s request. 

 

13.   It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to conduct an exhaustive search for the requested records.

 

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

 

1.      The respondent shall forthwith conduct a diligent search of the department’s files to ascertain whether any records exist that are responsive to the complainant’s request.  Thereafter, the respondent shall provide the complainant with any records that are discovered as a result of such search.  If no records exist, the respondent shall notify the complainant by affidavit of the results of such search.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 12, 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:

 

Jeffrey Smith, #211621

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution

1153 East Street South

Suffield, CT 06080

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of New London

c/o Brian K. Estep, Esq.

Conway & Londregan, PC

38 Huntington Street

PO Box 1351

New London, CT 06320

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2006-503FD/paj/9/18/2007