FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
David McNichol,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-534

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction; and

State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

 
  Respondents July 8, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 6, 2009, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, 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, 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

            2.  It is found that, by letter dated July 10, 2008, the complainant made a request to the respondent for a copy of the following records:

 

(a)  “Rules/Regulations Department of Correction uses in determining a person’s offence [sic] date when that person is sentenced to a prison term.”

 

(b)  “Rules/Regulations Department of Correction uses in determining a person’s offence [sic] date when more than one date is provided by State of Connecticut judicial on their records.”

 

(c)  “Rules/Regulations Department of Correction uses to determine a [sic] inmate’s controlling sentence when they are sentenced to more than one prison term.”

 

            3.  It is found that the respondents received the complainant’s request on July 23, 2008.  In addition, it is found that, by letter also dated July 23, 2008, the respondents acknowledged receipt of his request, and further informed the complainant that his request “will be forwarded to the correct unit for a response.  Someone from that unit shall be in contact with you in the near future.”

 

            4.  It is found that, by letter dated July 29, 2008, in response to the request described in paragraph 2, above, the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of “Connecticut General Statutes 18-100d and 53a-38(b) which govern how the Department of Correction handles the calculation of terms of imprisonment and supervision of persons convicted of a crime committed on or after 10/1/94” (“July 29 letter”).  It is also found that, in the July 29 letter, the respondents directed the complainant to refer to Administrative Directive 4.2, Section 3H, for explanation of the term Controlling Sentence.     

 

5.  By letter of complaint dated August 4, 2008, and received by the Commission on August 13, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the request described in paragraph 2, above.

 

            6.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant stated he was satisfied with the response to the request described in paragraph 2(c), but that the records he received with the July 29 letter were not responsive to the requests described in paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b), above.    

 

            7.  The request described in paragraph 2(c) will therefore not be further considered herein.

 

            8.  With regard to the requests described in paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b), above, a witness for the respondents, who for 19 years has worked as a records specialist, and who, as part of her duties, calculates sentences of inmates, testified, and it is found, that the only records that exist that are responsive to such requests are the records previously provided to the complainant, described in paragraph 4, above.   

 

            9.  It is therefore found that the respondents promptly provided the complainant with the requested records, described in paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b), above.

 

            10.  It is found that what the complainant was actually seeking was an explanation from the respondents as to how his particular sentence was calculated.  Although the respondents, at the hearing in this matter, provided the complainant with a lengthy, complicated explanation regarding how his sentence was calculated, it is found that the FOI Act does not require the respondents to answer questions.

 

            11.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.

 

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 July 8, 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:

 

 

David McNichol, #313199

Osborn Correctional Institution

335 Bilton Road

Somers, CT 06071

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction; and

State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction 

c/o Madeline A. Melchionne, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-534FD/paj/7/13/2009