FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Jose Arcia,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-731

Chief, Police Department,

City of Hartford; and Police

Department, City of Hartford,

 
  Respondents October 13, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 7, 2010 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 dated November 6, 2009, the complainant made a request for a copy of the following records pertaining to case numbers 03-13804 and 04-14414:

 

a.       “lists of statements used for probable cause on each case with copy(ies) of all determination of probable cause on both cases;”

b.      “all arrest warrant execution  return evidence tag numbers and receipts with chain of custody on both cases with evidence log report of data of entry;”

c.       “Detective Naomi Cagianello’s time sheets from 05-14-04 and all interview log reports;”

d.      “copies of both uniform arrest reports;”

e.       “copy of all hand-written and typed statements, policies and procedures;” and

f.       “a list of documents disclosed to petitioner in order to avoid any misunderstanding of what and why any documents are not available.”

 

3.      It is found that the complainant did not receive a response to his request.

 

4.      By letter dated November 25, 2009, and filed on December 1, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his records request.

 

5.      At the hearing on this matter, the respondents contended that the complaint should be dismissed because it was not filed within thirty days of the alleged violation.

 

6.      Section 1-206(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

Any denial of the right to . . . copy records provided for under section 1-210 shall be made to the person requesting such right by the public agency official who has custody or control of the public record, in writing, within four business days of such request . . . Failure to comply with a request to . . . copy such public record within the applicable number of business days shall be deemed to be a denial.

 

7.      Section 1-206(b)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210 or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a public agency or denied any other right conferred by the Freedom of Information Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission.  A notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days after such denial.

 

8.      It is found that the complainant’s request is dated November 6, 2009 and that his appeal, dated November 25, 2009, was filed with this Commission on December 1, 2009. 

 

9.      It is found, therefore, that the complainant’s appeal was filed within 30 days of the alleged violation.

 

10.   It is concluded, therefore, that the complainant timely filed his appeal and that the FOI Commission has subject matter jurisdiction over it.

 

11.   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. 

 

12.       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 . . . receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

      

13.       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.”

 

14.       It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

15.       It is found that it is the respondent department’s long-standing policy and practice to log all records requests into its computer system and to respond to such requests accordingly. 

 

16.       It is found that the respondents, after receiving notice of the complaint in this matter from this Commission, reviewed their log and found that they had no record of receiving the complainant’s November 6, 2009 records request.

 

17.       It is found, based on the credible testimony of the respondents’ witness, Detective Wiebusch, that the respondents did not receive the complainant’s November 6, 2009 request, and had no knowledge of it, until they received the notice of the complaint, dated May 20, 2010, from this Commission.

 

18.       It is found, therefore, that the respondents cannot be held accountable for failing to respond to a request that they did not receive.

 

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

 

20.       It is found, however, that the complainant submitted a records request to the respondents in March 2010, in which he requested the same records, except for two additional records, as those requested in his November 6, 2009 records request. 

 

21.  It is found that, by letter dated May 12, 2010, the respondents provided records in response to the March 2010 request which records the complainant received.

 

22.   It is found that the complainant is not satisfied with the records the respondents provided in response to his March 2010 request, however, that request is not the subject of the complaint in this matter and therefore will not be addressed herein.

 

 

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

 

1.      The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 13, 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:

 

Jose Arcia #320962

Carl Robinson Correctional Institution

285 Shaker Road

Enfield, CT  06082

 

Chief, Police Department, City of Hartford; and

Police Department, City of Hartford

c/o Nathalie Feola-Guerrieri

City of Hartford Corporation Counsel

555 Main Street, Room 303

Hartford, CT  06103

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2009-731FD/cac/10/14/2010