FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Charles W. Coleman, Jr.,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-471

Chief, Police Department, City of

New Haven; and Police Department,

City of New Haven,

 
  Respondents June 23, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 18, 2010, at which time the complainant and 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), G.S.

 

2.      On July 27, 2009, the complainant made a written request for “a copy of the New Haven Police Instruction Manual on fingerprints evidence that the police have to follow to prove that they collected the fingerprints evidence from the crime scene.”

 

3.      By letter received and filed on August 14, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide any of the records he requested.

 

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 found that the respondents do not maintain an instruction manual that detectives must follow to prove that they collected fingerprints from a crime scene. 

 

8.      It is found that the respondents’ detectives are sent outside the agency for training in fingerprint recovery and analysis.

 

9.       It is found that the respondents do not maintain any records that are responsive to the complainant’s request, described in paragraph 2, above. 

 

10.   Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant.

 

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 23, 2010.

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

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:

 

Charles W. Coleman, Jr.

Northern Correctional Institution

P.O. Box 665

Somers, CT  06071

 

Kathleen Foster, Esq.

Office of the Corporation Counsel

165 Church Street

New Haven, CT  06510

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2009-471/FD/cac/6/25/2010