FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Harris Contos,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2007-103

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Public Safety,

 
  Respondent November 28, 2007
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 7, 2007, at which time the complainant and respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 by letter dated January 8, 2007, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of all traffic citations issued on January 4, 2007 by the Connecticut State Police officer with shield #1002.

 

3.      It is found that by letter dated January 12, 2007, the respondent notified the complainant that his request had been received and was being processed.

 

4.      By letter dated February 12, 2007, and received on February 14, 2007, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request.

 

5.      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.

 

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

 

7.      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 . . . .”

 

8.      It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

9.      It is found that by letter dated May 28, 2007, the respondent provided the complainant with the requested records – 78 days after his January 12, 2007 letter to the complainant.

 

10.   It is found that FOI requests to the respondent are processed through his legal staff, which requests are assigned on rotation to staff attorneys for a response and/or compliance. 

 

11.   It is found that on January 12, 2007, the staff attorney assigned to respond to the complainant’s request submitted a request to the DPS traffic unit, which maintains the requested records.  It is found that on March 26, 2007, the date on which the staff attorney realized that he had not received a response from the traffic unit, he submitted another request to the traffic unit and labeled it as a high priority.  It is found that the traffic unit provided the requested records on March 28, 2007, and the staff attorney forwarded the records to the complainant by letter dated the same day. 

 

12.   It is found that the respondent concedes that after having made the first request to the traffic unit, no further thought was given to the request until March 26, 2007.

 

13.   It is found that the respondent offered no explanation for the 78-day delay except to suggest that the complainant failed to call the respondent to ask about the status of his request and therefore, it is found that the respondent unduly delayed complying with the complainant’s request.

 

14.  It is found that the respondent violated 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to promptly comply with the complainant’s records request.

 

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

 

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

            Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of November 28, 2007.

 

 

________________________________

Wendy R.B. Paradis

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:

 

Harris Contos

21 Bob-O-Link Lane

W. Yarmouth, MA  02673-3803

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Public Safety

c/o  Henri Alexandre, AAG

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT  06105

 

 

___________________________________

Wendy R.B. Paradis

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2007-103FD/wrbp/11/30/2007