FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|Bryant K. Rollins,|
|against||Docket #FIC 2010-283|
Joan Ellis, Freedom of Information
Officer, State of Connecticut, Department
of Correction; and State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
|Respondents||September 22, 2010|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 30, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2010-030, Bryant Rollins v. Freedom of Information Officer, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction. 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 April 27, 2010 and received on April 30, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of records.
3. Section 1-200(5), G.S., 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.”
6. It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
7. It is found that on March 30, 2010, the complainant made a written request for five categories of records. It is found that the complainant requested a waiver of any copying fees on the ground that he was indigent.
8. It is found, however, that the respondents did not receive the complainant’s request in a timely manner.
9. It is found that the respondents first learned of the complainant’s request when they received notice from the Commission on May 28, 2010. It is found that such notice informed the respondents of the complainant’s appeal and provided them with a copy of his complaint to the Commission and a copy of his March 30, 2010 request for records.
10. It is found that when the respondents received the complainant’s request, they promptly searched for the records.
11. It is found that by June 14, 2010, the respondents gathered records responsive to the first three categories of records of the complainant’s request, and informed the complainant that they required prepayment of $5.25 before they would make the copies and provide them to the complainant. (It is found that in response to one of the categories of records – “the number of available positions at Radgowski CT and number of inmates presently employed” – the respondents provided the numbers to the complainant without charging for copies of records.)
12. It is found that the complainant did not respond to the request for prepayment.
13. At the hearing, the complainant stated that he was alleging only that the respondents failed to comply promptly with his request for records. The complainant stated that he was not challenging the respondents’ determination that he was not indigent.
14. With respect to the fourth and fifth categories of records that the complainant requested, it is found that the complainant wrote such portion of the request on the flip side of the paper. It is found that it is not obvious from the front side that the request continued on the back. It is found that the flip side inadvertently was not included in the mailing that the Commission sent to the respondents on May 28, 2010. It is found, therefore, that the respondents did not receive such request on that date, and, therefore, did not respond to that portion of the request on June 14, 2010. It is found that the respondents first learned of the remaining portion of the request at the hearing in this matter.
15. 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 September 22, 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:
Bryant Rollins #14096
J.B. Gates Correctional Institution
131 N. Bridebrook Road
Niantic, CT 06357
Joan Ellis, Freedom of Information Officer, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and
State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
c/o Nicole Anker, Esq.
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission