FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Gary Cooke,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-272

Joseph Gaudett, Acting Chief, Police Department,

City of Bridgeport; and Police Department,

City of Bridgeport,

 
  Respondents April 14, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 21, 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.      It is found that by letter dated April 5, 2009, the complainant requested copies of “GSR [Gun Shot Residue] test results” in “Case No. 01D-2041.”  It is found that the complainant specified in his request that he wanted the GSR test results of four individuals, two sets of gloves, and one cap.

 

3.      By letter dated April 30, 2009, and filed on May 5, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his request for records, described in paragraph 2, above.  The complainant requested that the Commission assess a civil penalty against the respondents.

 

4.      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.

 

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

 

[e]xcept 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 the provisions of section 1-212.

 

6.      Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny 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 complainant, to the extent that they exist, 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 20, 2009, the respondents’ counsel sent a copy of the lab report in Case No. 01D2041 to the complainant’s correctional institution.  It is found that the lab report is a two-page document that appears to be responsive to the complainant’s request, described in paragraph 2, above.

 

9.      It is found that the complainant already had the lab report that the respondents sent to him on October 20, 2009.  The complainant alleges that there are additional records responsive to his request that the respondents have failed to provide.

 

10.   The respondents claim that they do not maintain any other records that are responsive to the complainant’s request, described in paragraph 2, above.

 

11.   It is found that due to the age of the case for which the lab report was compiled, the respondents’ counsel needed to search the archives room.  It is found that the respondents’ counsel discovered there the two-page report that she subsequently sent to the complainant on October 20, 2009.  It is further found that the respondents’ counsel also asked the State’s Attorney’s office for additional lab reports.  It is found that the State’s Attorney’s office produced the same lab report that the respondents’ counsel found in Archives and that the complainant already had. 

 

12.    It is found that the respondents conducted a diligent search for copies of the records that the complainant requested.  It is also found that the copies of records that the respondents provided to the complainant were responsive to his request, described in paragraph 2, above.

 

13.   The complainant alleges that the respondents failed to provide the copies of records promptly upon request.

 

14.    Respondents’ counsel acknowledged that a delay of over six months in providing a two-page lab report was not prompt compliance. 

 

15.    It is concluded that the respondents violated 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide the records promptly upon the complainant’s request.

 

16.    After consideration of the entire record in this case, the Commission declines to consider the imposition of civil penalties against the respondents.

 

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

 

1.      Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness requirements of the FOI Act.

 

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 14, 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:

 

Gary Cooke #169077

MacDougall-Walker CI

1153 East Street South
Suffield, CT 06080

 

Joseph Gaudett, Acting Chief,

Police Department, City of Bridgeport;

and Police Department,

City of Bridgeport

C/o Melanie J. Howlett, Esq.

999 Broad Street

Office of the City Attorney

City of Bridgeport

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-272FD/sw/4/16/2010