FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Rachel M. Baird,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-756

Director, State of Connecticut,

Judicial Marshal Services, Court

Operations Administration,

 
  Respondent May 27, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 2, 2009, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared 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 October 28, 2008, the complainant requested the following records “in accordance with General Statutes 1-210(a)(3), 1-212(a)”:

 

(a)  “All records concerning policies and procedures related to the ‘metal detector process’ as referenced in a letter from Maria Kewer…to Rachel M. Baird, dated October 2, 2008”;

 

(b)  “All records, in electronic format, concerning policies and procedures related to the ‘metal detector process’ as referenced in a letter from Ms. Kewer to Rachel M. Baird, dated October 2, 2008”;

 

(c)  “A copy of all video and audio recording of the incidents described in my September 11, 2008, letter, including my entry to the courthouse in the morning and my entry to the courthouse in the afternoon on September 11, 2008”;

 

(d)  “A copy of all video and audio recording of an incident that occurred at the Superior Court in Middletown, 1 Court Street, Middletown, on October 17, 2008, in the vicinity of the metal detectors at the public entrance in which a male was restrained by judicial marshals and taken through a doorway to a stairwell”; and

 

(e)  “All records related to the investigation of the circumstances described in my September 11, 2008 letter to The Honorable Thomas V. O’Keefe.”  

 

3.  By letter of complaint dated, received and filed November 28, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the requests described in paragraph 2, above.

 

            4.  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.

 

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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.

 

            6.   Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

7.  It is found that the records described in paragraph 2, above, are public records and must be disclosed in accordance with 1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure. 

 

8.  It is found that counsel for the respondent, by letter dated December 4, 2008, acknowledged the complainant’s request, described in paragraph 2, above, and, apologizing for the delay in responding, stated that such delay was “the result of [a] misunderstanding as to who was going to respond to you.”   

 

9.  It is found that, by letters dated December 11, 2008, and February 18, 2009, and an email dated December 16, 2008, the respondent provided the complainant with all records he maintains that are responsive to the request described in paragraphs 2(a) through 2(e), above.

 

10.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant argued that the respondent’s response to her request, described in paragraph 2, above, was not prompt.

 

11.  In addition to the misunderstanding as to who would respond to the request, the respondent testified that the delay in providing the video recordings was caused by the need to review such recordings for security purposes.   According to the respondent, the video recordings of the security check points at the public metal detectors reveal the weaknesses at such security checkpoints, which, an individual watching such videos, could use to “beat the system.”   The respondent cited 1-210(b)(19), G.S., as the basis for such review of such video recordings.

           

12.  It is found that, even taking into consideration the need to review the video recordings, the respondent’s response to the requests described in paragraphs 2(a) through 2(e), was not prompt.  

 

            13.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated the FOI Act by failing to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of the records described in paragraph 2, above.

 

            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 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
           

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 27, 2009.

 

 

________________________________

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:

 

Rachel M. Baird

100 Pearl Street

14th Floor

Hartford, CT 06103-4500

 

Director, State of Connecticut,

Judicial Marshal Services, Court

Operations Administration

c/o Martin R. Libbin, Esq.

Deputy Director, Legal Services

State of Connecticut, Judicial Branch

100 Washington Street, 3rd Floor

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-756FD/paj/6/1/2009