FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Troy Thomas,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-047

Director, State of Connecticut,

Department of Public Safety,

Division of Scientific Services; and

State of Connecticut, Department of

Public Safety,

 
  Respondents December 2, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 21, 2009 and June 4, 2009, at which times 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, et al., 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)(A), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, by an application dated January 6, 2009, the complainant requested eight different categories of records (which are not relevant to the present case), with reference to narcotics testing in two different laboratory cases (the “requested records”).

 

3.   By letter filed with the Freedom of Information Commission (“FOIC” or sometimes the “Commission”) on January 23, 2009, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents failed to provide the requested records in violation of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).

 

4.  At the April 21, 2009 hearing, the respondents testified that they had located one hundred and ninety-four pages that were responsive to the complainant’s request and requested pre-payment of the copying fee in the amount of $48.50. The complainant asserted that he was indigent, and the respondents agreed to forward an application to the complainant to establish that he was indigent.

 

5.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., states in relevant part:

 

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, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

6.  Section 1-212, G.S., states in relevant parts:

 

(a) Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. 

 

….

 

(d) The public agency shall waive any fee provided for in this section when:

 

(1) The person requesting the records is an indigent individual; (emphasis added)

 

7.  It is concluded that the requested records generally referred to in paragraph 2, above, are “public records” within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.  

 

8.  It is found, based upon the Department of Correction account statement, that on the date of his request, the complainant had a balance of $65.16, and within the previous month, had maintained a balance as high as $209.34. Between October 6, 2008 and May 1, 2009, the complainant received deposits into his Department of Correction account in the amount of $485. It is found that, for an incarcerated individual, $485 is more than sufficient to pay for a seven month period “for the necessities of life,” such as soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. It is also found that the $48.50 copying fee at issue in this case constituted only ten percent (10%) of this $485 of deposits.     

 

9.  It is concluded that the complainant has not established indigence in this case.

 

10.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the requirements of 1-212(d)(1), G.S., when they declined to find the complainant indigent and declined to provide the requested records to the complainant free of charge.

 

             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 December 2, 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:

 

Troy Thomas #216082

Osborn Correctional Institution

335 Bilton Road

P.O. Box 100

Somers, CT 06071

 

Director, State of Connecticut,

Department of Public Safety,

Division of Scientific Services; and

State of Connecticut, Department of

Public Safety

C/o Terrence O’Neill, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-047FD/sw/12/8/2009