FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Raymond Cerilli,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-059

James Lewis, Chief, Police Department,

City of New Haven; and

Police Department, City of New Haven,

 
  Respondents January 13, 2010
       

          

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 17, 2009, 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.). 

 

            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.  By letter of complaint filed February 2, 2009, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the Commission’s final decision in Docket #FIC 2007-713, Raymond J. Cerilli v. Chief, Police Department, City of New Haven et al.  (“Cerilli I”).    

 

            3.  The Commission takes administrative notice of its records and files in Cerilli I

 

4.  In Cerilli I the Commission issued the following order to the respondents:        

 

            1.  If they have not already done so, forthwith, the respondents shall provide the complainant with copies of all 41 photographs described in paragraph 9 of the findings, above.

            2.  If they have not already done so, the respondents shall forthwith contact the Office of the State’s Attorney to determine what responsive records that office may have taken from the respondents, and further, to retrieve or copy any such records, and provide such copies to the complainant.

 

            3.  In the event that the Office of the State’s Attorney does not maintain any records described in paragraph 20 of the findings, above, the respondents shall so notify the complainant in an affidavit.

 

            4.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

5.  Paragraph 9 of the findings in Cerilli I provided, in relevant part, that the respondents “informed the complainant that the requested photographs, numbering 41, would be developed and sent to him.” 

 

6.  Cerilli I made no specific findings as to whether or not there existed precisely 41 photographs responsive to the complainant’s request in that case, which was for all records related to a 1991 criminal case arising out of his 1987 arrest.

 

7.  It is found that, before the order in Cerilli I, the respondents sent the complainant approximately 42 glossy prints of the relevant photographs.  Some of the 42 prints were duplicates of each other, and it is found that there are approximately 39 separate relevant photographs.  Some of the prints were in color, and some were in black and white, depending on whether the negatives were color or black and white.

 

8.  It is found that, after the order in Cerilli I, when the complainant still did not believe he had been sent all the photographs, the respondents conducted a further diligent search for any photographs that could possibly be within the ambit of the Commission’s order.  That search included queries to individuals within and outside the New Haven Police Department who might reasonably have copies of such photographs.

 

9.  It is found that, after the order in Cerilli I, the respondents also contacted the Office of the State’s Attorney for a second time, and for a second time caused prints to be made from the negatives in the State’s Attorney’s possession.

 

10.  It is found that, after the order in Cerilli I, the respondents again sent the complainant all 39 of the photographs that they were able to locate, the same photographs they had sent before the order in Cerilli I, this time in the form of good quality photocopies.

 

11.  The complainant believes that some of the photographs used in his trial are not within the packages of photographs sent to him.  Specifically, the complainant believes that there is a missing photograph of a bathroom shower, and a missing photograph of a living room with “fake blood.”

 

12.  It is found, however, that the respondents have faithfully and fully complied with the Commission’s order in Cerilli I.  Indeed, the respondents’ efforts to resolve any uncertainties in this matter by conducting a further search for,  and inquiry about, the photographs, and by sending the complainant a second set of the same photographs, goes beyond what was ordered in Cerilli I, and the Commission commends the respondents for their diligence.

 

 

           

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

            1.  The complaint is dismissed.

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 13, 2010.

 

____________________________

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:

 

Raymond Cerilli #162375

MacDougall-Walker C I

1153 East Street South

Suffield, CT 06080

 

James Lewis, Chief, Police Department,

City of New Haven; and

Police Department, City of New Haven

C/o Kathleen Foster, Esq.

Office of Corporation Counsel

165 Church Street

New Haven, CT 06510

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2009-059FD/sw/1/19/2010