FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Kimberly Albright Lazzari and

Anthony Lazzari,

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-288
Chief, Police Department, City of New Haven;
and Police Department, City of  New Haven,
 
  Respondents January 27, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 15, 2009, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2009-297; Kimberly Albright Lazzari and Anthony Lazzari v. Chief, Police Department, City of New Haven; and Police Department, City of New Haven. Upon the motion of the respondents, and without objection by the complainants, Docket #FIC 2009-297 is dismissed because it is identical to Docket #FIC 2009-288.  

 

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 April 13, 2009, the complainants requested a copy of records relating to former New Haven Detective Michael Hunter and to three other named individuals.

 

3.      By letter dated May 13, 2009, the complainants appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide copies of records they requested, described in paragraph 2, above.

 

4.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., in relevant part, defines “public records” as follows:

 

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, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

5.      Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, 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 inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.

 

6.      Section 1-212 (a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

7.      It is concluded that the records requested by the complainants are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

8.      It is found that on October 23, 2009, the respondents provided copies of many records to the complainants.  It is further found that such records were the entire Internal Affairs file on former detective Michael Hunter (“Hunter”).

 

9.      At the hearing in this matter, the complainants acknowledged that the respondents had provided copies of responsive records and that the only records that the complainants were still seeking were:

 

a.  the arrest warrant for Hunter;

 

b.  the arrest report on Hunter; and

 

c.  a surveillance tape of Hunter.

 

10.     It is found that the New Haven Police Internal Affairs Unit conducted an investigation of Hunter upon a civilian complaint.  It is found that the respondents subsequently sought and received an arrest warrant for Hunter.  It is found that after the arrest warrant was served on or about September 29, 2008, the respondents forwarded the arrest warrant to the court.  It is found that the respondents no longer maintained a copy of the arrest warrant at the time of the complainants’ request for records on April 13, 2009.

 

11.     It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by failing to provide the arrest warrant for Hunter.

 

12.     It is found that the Internal Affairs records concerning Hunter were the basis for his arrest warrant and that all the Internal Affairs records were provided to the complainants.  It is found that the respondents did not create a separate arrest report.  It is found that any record resembling an arrest report was either provided to the complainants with the Internal Affairs records, or such report does not exist.

 

13.     With respect to the surveillance tape of Hunter, it is found that the tape was created in June 2009, subsequent to the complainants’ April 13, 2009 request for records in this matter.  It is found, therefore, that the FOI Act did not require the respondents to provide the tape to the complainants in response to their April 13, 2009 request.  It is further found that the respondents reasonably believed that the complainants sought records related only to the September 29, 2008 arrest of Hunter.

 

14.     It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by not providing the tape to the complainants.

 

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 January 27, 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:

 

Kimberly Albright Lazzari and

Anthony Lazzari

132 Rock Creek Road

New Haven, CT 06515

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of New Haven; and

Police Department, City of New Haven

C/o Kathleen M. Foster, Esq.

Office of the Corporation Counsel

165 Church Street

New Haven, CT 06510

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-288FD/sw/2/2/2010