FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Jose Ayuso,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-449

Chief, Police Department,

City of Hartford; and

Police Department, City of Hartford,

 
  Respondents June 9, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 13, 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 dated July 22, 2009, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying his request for public records.

 

            3.  It is found that the complainant made a July request to the respondents for certain recordings, transcripts and dispatch records pertaining to his criminal case. 

 

4.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:

 

“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:

 

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.  It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant, to the extent they exist, are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

7.  It is found that the respondents provided all the records to the complainant in their custody that the complainant had requested.

 

8.  It is found the respondents additionally provided two microcassette tape recordings of another tape recording maintained only by the Hartford State’s Attorney’s office.  The portable microcassette recorder was the only device the Hartford State’s Attorney’s office permitted the respondents to use to make the recordings.  It is found that the recordings made by the respondents were good copies at the time they were made.

 

9.  It is found that when the complainant played the microcassette recording on the microcassette player available to him at the correctional facility, some of the recording sounded slowed, and other parts were difficult to hear.

 

10.  It is found, based on reasonable inference from the facts on the record, that the problem encountered by the complainant was either due to the equipment available to him, or to something that happened to the recordings after they were sent to the complainant.

 

11.  It is also concluded that the respondents have, admirably, gone beyond the requirements of the FOI Act in order to provide a copy of tape recordings to the complainant that are not in the respondent’s custody.

 

12.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.

 

13.  At the conclusion of the hearing on this matter, the respondents agreed to attempt to provide a copy of the tape recordings in a format that the complainant would be able to play.  The complainant was instructed by the hearing officer to inform the Commission if any further hearing on this matter were necessary, and no further communication was received.

 

 

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 June 9, 2010.

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

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 Ayuso, #156239

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution

1153 East Street South

Suffield, CT 06080

 

Chief, Police Department,

City of Hartford; and

Police Department, City of Hartford

c/o Edward M. Schenkel, Esq.

Crumbie Law Group

280 Trumbull Street, 21st Floor

Hartford, CT 06103

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2009-449FD/paj/6/16/2010