FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket #FIC 2010-046|
Freedom of Information Liaison,
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
Northern Correctional Institution; and
State of Connecticut, Department of
|Respondents||November 17, 2010|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 15, 2010, and August 17, 2010, at which times the complainant and the 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, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.). For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2010-047, Jose Calderon v. Warden, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction, Carl Robinson Correctional Institution; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction.
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. It is found that, by letter dated December 30, 2009, the complainant made a request to the respondents for copies of various records, all related to an incident that occurred in the recreation yard at Northern CI, on or about May 4, 2009, including any video recordings of the incident, and “all recommendations made by [Carl Robinson CI] to [Northern CI] regarding [the complainant’s] need for special management for housing.…”
3. It is found that, by letter dated January 7, 2010, the respondents acknowledged the request, described in paragraph 2, above, informed the complainant that the video tapes he requested were exempt from disclosure, and further informed the complainant that his request for certain other records he requested “need to be addressed to CRCI staff.”
4. By letter of complaint dated January 14, 2010, and filed January 25, 2010, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the request described in paragraph 2, above.
5. 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.
6. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
7. 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.”
8. It is found that, to the extent that the respondents maintain the records described in paragraph 2, above, such records are public records and must be disclosed in accordance with §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure.
9. At the hearing in this matter, the respondents asserted that, although they maintain video recordings of the incident, described in paragraph 2, above, such video recordings are exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(18), G.S.
10. Section 1-210(b)(18), G.S., provides, in relevant part, that “[n]othing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure of:
Records, the disclosure of which the Commissioner of Correction…has reasonable grounds to believe may result in a safety risk, including the risk of harm to any person or the risk of an escape from, or a disorder in, a correctional institution or facility under the supervision of the Department of Correction….
11. It is found that disclosure of the video recordings would reveal where, in the recreation yard, video monitoring is absent. Based upon the foregoing, it is found that the Commissioner of Correction has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of the video recordings, described in paragraph 2, above, may result in a safety risk, within the meaning of §1-210(b)(18), G.S.
12. It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act when they withheld the video recordings, described in paragraph 2, above, from the complainant.
13. It is found that the respondents provided the complainant with a redacted copy of an incident report, the subject of which is the May 4, 2009 incident, described in paragraph 2, above. It is found that such incident report is responsive to the request described in paragraph 2, above, and that the complainant did not contest the redactions made in such report. It is further found that no other records, responsive to the request, described in paragraph 2, above, exist.
14. It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act with regard to the request, described in paragraph 2, above, as alleged in the complaint.
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 November 17, 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 Calderon #144872
Bridgeport Correctional Center
1106 North Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Freedom of Information Liaison, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction, Northern Correctional Institution; and
State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
c/o Nancy Kase O’Brasky, Esq.
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission