FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Johnnie J. Jasinski, III,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-757

Chief, Police Department,

Town of Stratford; and

Police Department, Town of

Stratford, 

 
  Respondents May 27, 2009
       

 

      The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 24, 2009, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

            2.  It is found that, on November 7, 2008, the complainant appeared in person at the office of the respondents and requested a copy of police incident report no. 08-17148.  It is also found that, while the complainant waited, the respondents made a copy of such report, redacted certain information contained therein, and provided the redacted copy of such report to the complainant.  

           

            3.  It is found that, after receiving the redacted copy of the report, described in paragraph 2, above, the complainant, while still at the respondents’ office, reviewed such report, and thereafter requested another police incident report, incident report no. 08-9569. 

 

            4.  It is found that the respondents denied the complainant’s request for police incident report no. 08-9569, on November 7, 2008, and again, on November 14, 2008, stating such report is exempt from disclosure.

 

            5.  By letter of complaint dated November 30, 2008 and filed December 1, 2008, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by redacting information in police incident report no. 08-17148, described in paragraph 2, above, and by denying his request for a copy of police incident report no. 08-9569, described in paragraph 3, above. 

 

6.      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.

 

7.      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 1-212.

 

8.      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.”

 

9.      It is found that the respondents maintain the records described in paragraphs 2 and 3, above, and it is therefore concluded that such records 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. 

 

10.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant stated that he wished to withdraw his complaint as it relates to the record described in paragraph 2, above.  Therefore, such allegations will not be considered herein. 

 

11.  Also, at the hearing in this matter, the respondents submitted police incident report no. 08-9569, described in paragraph 3, above, and claimed to be exempt from disclosure, pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S., to the Commission for an in camera inspection (hereinafter the “in camera record”). 

 

12.   It is found that the in camera record is responsive to the request described in paragraph 3, above, and consists of four pages. 

 

13.  The respondents claim the entire in camera record is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S., which provides, in relevant part, that disclosure is not required of:

 

Records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of … (G) uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to section 1-216.

 

            14.  Section 1-216, G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

… records of law enforcement agencies consisting of uncorroborated allegations that an individual has engaged in criminal activity shall be reviewed by the law enforcement agency one year after the creation of such records.  If the existence of the alleged criminal activity cannot be corroborated with ninety days of the commencement of such review, the law enforcement agency shall destroy such records.

 

            15.  After careful review of the in camera record, it is found that such record is a record of a law enforcement agency, not otherwise available to the public, which was complied in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, and contains uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction pursuant to 1-216, G.S.  It is further found that disclosure of the in camera record would not be in the public interest.

 

16.  The Commission has consistently concluded that the entirety of the record of an investigation of uncorroborated allegations of criminal activity is exempt from disclosure, pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.  See, e.g., Docket #FIC2006-049, Otto v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Greenwich (all 48 pages of police report exempt from disclosure under 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2005-031, Bosco v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Wethersfield (all 22 pages of investigation report comprised of incident report; supplemental reports; statements of the complainant, the suspect and another individual; case closure report exempt under 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2003-462, Kosinski v. Department of Public Safety (all 25 pages of investigation report exempt under 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2003-218, Chalecki v. Department of Public Safety (entirety of investigation report exempt under 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 2000-291, Damato v. Records Supervisor, Police Department, Town of Glastonbury (all four pages of investigation report exempt under 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 1999-493, Peruta v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Wethersfield et al. (all three pages of investigation exempt under 1-210(b)(3)(G), G.S.); Docket #FIC 1999-296, Harford Courant et al. v. Chief, Police Department, City of Torrington et al. (all 317 pages of investigation report exempt under 1-210(b)(3)(B) and (G), G.S.).

 

            17.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by withholding the entire in camera record, described in paragraphs 3 and 11, above, from disclosure.

           

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.

 

 

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:

 

Johnnie J. Jasinski, III 

c/o Ryan K. Morse, Esq.

Barbara J. Collins, Attorney at Law

44 Capitol Avenue, Suite 402

Hartford, CT 06106

 

Chief, Police Department,

Town of Stratford; and

Police Department, Town of

Stratford

c/o Bryan L. LeClerc, Esq.

Berchem, Moses and Devlin

75 Broad Street

Milford, CT 06460

 

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-757FD/paj/6/1/2009