FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
John Sylvia,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-240

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction; and

State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

 
  Respondents March 25, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 5, 2008, at which time the complainant and 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.). 

 

For purposes of hearing, the above captioned complaint was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2008-382; John Sylvia v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction

 

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 letter dated March 12, 2008, the complainant made a request to the respondents for “all complaints and lawsuits filed against Lieutenant Dino Cucchetti…” during his employment as a correctional officer and as lieutenant.

 

3.      It is found that by letter dated March 20, 2008, to Mr. Cucchetti, the respondents informed him of the complainant’s request and his right to object to the disclosure of the requested records. 

 

4.      It is found that by letter dated March 25, 2008, Mr. Cucchetti objected to the disclosure of copies of his “personnel, medical or similar files” and asserted that release of such files would constitute an invasion of his privacy.

 

5.      It is found that by letter dated March 27, 2008 to the complainant, the respondents informed the complainant of Mr. Cucchetti’s objection to the disclosure of the requested records and that he would not be provided with the records he requested.

 

6.      By letter dated April 4, 2008, and filed on April 8, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his March 12, 2008 request.

 

7.      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.

 

8.      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. 

 

9.       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 . . . .”

 

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

 

11.   It is found that no other complaints or lawsuits against Mr. Cucchetti are maintained by the respondents other than the complaint filed by the complainant, of which the complainant already has a copy.

 

12.   It is found, however, that the complainant was not informed of the fact found in paragraph 11, above, until the hearing on this matter.

 

13.   Nonetheless, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant.

 

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.

 

2.      It is incumbent upon the respondents to recognize that it is both a better practice and common courtesy to respond to requesters in order to prevent unnecessary complaints and hearings that waste valuable state resources, including the time and efforts of the commission ombudsman, hearing officer and commissioners themselves.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 25, 2009.

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

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:

 

John Sylvia #208614

Brooklyn C I

59 Hartford Road

Brooklyn, CT 06234

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction

C/o Nicole J. Anker, Esq.

Connecticut Department of Correction

Legal Affairs Unit

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT 06109

 

 and

 

State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction

C/o Steven R. Strom, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-240FD/sw/3/26/2009