FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Karen Holness,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-231
Chief, Police Department, City of Torrington;
Police Department, City of Torrington;
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Children and Families; and State
of Connecticut, Department of Children and
Families,
 
  Respondents July 28, 2010
       

 

On June 18, 2010, the respondents Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Children and Families; and State of Connecticut, Department of Children and Families, in the above-captioned matter moved to dismiss the complaint without a hearing.  The complainant did not file an objection to the respondents’ motion.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1.  Section 1-206(b)(4), G.S., provides that:

 

“[n]otwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of an appeal to the commission of a denial by a public agency, the commission may, upon motion of such agency, confirm the action of the agency and dismiss the appeal without a hearing if it finds, after examining the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, that the agency has not violated the Freedom of Information Act.”

 

2.  The notice of appeal in this matter alleges that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying, pursuant to 17a-28, G.S., the complainant’s request to receive a copy of certain police reports and interview records, including video and audio recordings.  

 

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

[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 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….”

 

            [Emphasis added.]

 

4.  Section 17a-28(b), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

[n]otwithstanding the provisions of [the FOI Act], records maintained  by the department [of Children and Families] shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed…..

 

            5.  Section 17a-101k, G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall maintain a registry of the commissioner's findings of abuse or neglect of children. . . The information contained in the registry and any other information relative to child abuse, wherever located, shall be confidential, subject to such statutes and regulations governing their use and access as shall conform to the requirements of federal law or regulations.  [Emphasis added.]

 

6.   It is concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the records of the respondents related to child protection activities.  Marlowe v. Freedom of Information Commission, 1999 Ct. Supp. 13562 (New Britain Sup. Ct., CV 99-0493141S, McWeeney, J.).   

 

7.   It is clear from the complaint and pleadings that the requested records relate to the child protection activities of all the respondents. It is concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction in this matter, by virtue of 17a-28(b) and 101k, G.S. 

 

            8.  Therefore, after consideration of the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the complainant, the action of the respondents is confirmed and it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the Freedom of Information Act as alleged in the complaint.

 

Consequently, the action of the agencies is confirmed and the following order by the Commission is hereby recommended:

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed without a hearing pursuant to 1-206(b)(4), G.S. 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 28, 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:

 

Karen Holness

235 Migeon Avenue

Torrington, CT 06790

 

Chief, Police Department, City of

Torrington; and Police Department,

City of Torrington

c/o Ernestine Yuille Weaver, Esq.

Corporation Counsel, City of Torrington

140 Main Street

Torrington, CT 06790

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Children and

Families; and State of Connecticut,

Department of Children and Families

c/o Thomas De Matteo, Esq.

State of Connecticut

Department of Children and Families

505 Hudson Street

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2010-231FD/paj/7/29/2010