FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Jose Polanco,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-570

Chief, Police Department, City of New

Haven; Police Department, City of New

Haven; Health Services Administrator,

State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut

Health Center, Correctional Managed

Health Care, MacDougall-Walker

Correctional Institution; and State of

Connecticut, University of Connecticut

Health Center, Correctional Managed

Health Care, MacDougall-Walker

Correctional Institution,

 
  Respondents August 12, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 17, 2008 at which time the complainant and the 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.). 

 

            A Report of Hearing Officer was issued on February 23, 2009 in the above-captioned matter.  The Commission considered such report at its regular meeting of July 8, 2009 and remanded the above-captioned matter to the hearing officer to take additional evidence with respect to the adequacy of the respondent chief’s search.  A hearing on remand was conducted on July 21, 2009, at which time the complainant and the respondent Chief, Police Department, City of New Haven and the respondent Police Department, City of New Haven appeared, presented testimony, 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 by letter dated August 15, 2008, to the respondent chief, the complainant made a request for:

 

a.       police arrest report dated August 12, 2005 of Jose I. Polanco, date of birth June 17, 1965 unnecessary [sic] arresting officer Detective Mark Grandpre.

 

3.       It is found that by letter dated August 15, 2008, to the respondent Health Services Administrator, the complainant made a request for:

 

a.       mental health records file A, B, C, and D; and

 

b.      “diagnosis and medical conditions of” mental status (sic).

 

4.      It is found that the complainant also made a request to an Attorney Glenn W. Falk of New Haven Legal Assistance, however, neither Attorney Falk nor New Haven Legal Assistance are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.  Therefore, this Commission lacks jurisdiction over the complainant’s request to Attorney Falk and such request will not be addressed herein.

 

5.      By letter dated August 26, 2008, and filed on August 29, 2008, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his requests. 

 

6.      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.

 

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

 

8.      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 . . . .”

 

9.      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.

 

10.   With respect to the complainant’s request to the respondent chief, it is found that the respondent chief provided the complainant with a redacted copy of the record responsive to his request, which is a police report authored by a Detective Chris Perrone.

 

11.   It is found that the respondent chief conducted a thorough search for any and all records responsive to the complainant’s request which search included the records department and all other departments in which records related to the investigation of the complainant’s case would reasonably be maintained. 

 

12.   At the July 21, 2009 hearing in this matter, the assistant chief of the respondent department and the officer in charge of the Records Room testified, and it is found, that the respondent chief maintains only one report responsive to the request described in paragraph 2a, above.

 

13.   At the July 21, 2009 hearing in this matter, the complainant contended that he should have been provided with the supplemental police reports of a “Sergeant Crawford” and of “Sergeant” Perrone.  The complainant explained, during such hearing, that he believed that a supplemental report written by Sergeant Crawford existed because he heard Sergeant Crawford testify at the complainant’s trial that he wrote one. 

 

14.   At the July 21, 2009 hearing in this matter, the assistant chief testified, and it is found, that Sergeant Crawford was a member of the Connecticut State Police, now retired, and that the arrest described in paragraph 2a, above, presented no circumstances under which Sergeant Crawford would have drafted and submitted a report to the respondent chief. 

 

15.   It is found that the respondent chief does not maintain any report, supplemental or otherwise, authored by Sergeant Crawford.  It is found that the respondent chief does not maintain a supplemental report of Detective Perrone.

 

16.   Prior to the July 21, 2009 hearing on this matter, the respondent chief submitted the affidavit of Lieutenant Roger Young, the Officer in Charge of the Records Division of the respondent police department.  It is found that Lieutenant Young personally conducted a search for the requested records after the Commission’s remand.   

 

17.   At the July 21, 2009 hearing on this matter, Lieutenant Young testified that the only record which the respondent maintains that is responsive to the request described in paragraph 2a, above, is the one already provided to the complainant, as described in paragraph 10, above. 

 

18.   It is further found that the only other record maintained by the New Haven Police Department that relates to the complainant is a report authored by an Officer Ortiz related to an incident subsequent to the August 12, 2005 arrest at issue.  It is found that such record is outside the scope of the request in this matter.  However, at the July 21 hearing in this matter, the respondents indicated that they would release such record to the complainant. 

 

19.   With respect to the redacted information in the records provided by the respondent chief, it is found that the redacted information would reveal the identity of undercover narcotics agents still in the field. 

 

20.   Section 1-210(b)(3)(C), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

Nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure of . . . [r]ecords 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 . . . (C) information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to such action . . . .

 

21.   It is found that the redacted information constitutes information to be used in prospective law enforcement actions which would be prejudicial to such actions if released within the meaning of 1-210(b)(3)(C), G.S., and it is concluded, therefore, that said information is permissibly exempt from disclosure.

 

22.   It is concluded that the respondent chief did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant.

 

23.   With respect to the complainant’s request to the respondent Health Services Administrator, it is found that the complainant was provided with approximately sixty-five (65) pages of records by letter dated August 18, 2008 and then with approximately another ten (10) pages during the following month.

 

24.   However, at the December 17, 2008, hearing on this matter, the complainant contended that his medical file should be considerably larger since he had been receiving treatment through the Correctional Managed Health Care system since the 1980’s.  The complainant contended that he did not receive any intake records, or any records related to his treatment at Litchfield Correction Center, and that he was only provided with two pages of progress notes.  

 

25.   It is found that the records provided to the complainant included records dated as early as 1989, which also relate to his treatment at Litchfield Correctional Center. 

 

26.   It is found that the respondent Services Administrator conducted a reasonable search for records responsive to the complainant’s request and provided him with all records that were located.

 

27.   It is concluded, therefore, that respondent Services Administrator 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.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 12, 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:

 

Jose Polanco

Sierra Connection

48 Howe Street

New Haven, CT 06513

 

Chief, Police Department, City of  New

Haven; and Police Department, City of

New Haven

C/o Kathleen M. Foster, Esq.

Office of Corporation Counsel

165 Church Street, 4th Floor

New Haven, CT 06510

 

Health Services Administrator,

State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut

Health Center, Correctional Managed

Health Care, MacDougall-Walker

Correctional Institution; and State of

Connecticut, University of Connecticut

Health Center, Correctional Managed

Health Care, MacDougall-Walker

Correctional Institution

C/o Donald R. Green, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

University of Connecticut Health Center

263 Farmington Avenue

Farmington, CT 06030

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-570FD/sw/8/14/2009