FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Luis Fernandez,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-104
Director, State of Connecticut,
Department of Public Safety, Division
of Scientific Services; and State of
Connecticut, Department of Public Safety,
 
  Respondents January 28, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 14, 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.      By letter filed February 17, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by not complying with a final Commission decision reached in a previous complaint that the complainant had filed against the respondents.

 

3.      The Commission takes administrative notice of the record and final decision in Docket #FIC2009-028; Luis Fernandez v. Director, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety, Division of Scientific Services; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety (Dec. 16, 2009).  In the final decision, the Commission ordered the respondents to provide to the complainant all of the records described in paragraph 9 of the findings of fact.  Paragraph 9 describes 135 pages of records responsive to the complainant’s request.  The Commission also ordered the respondents to strictly comply with the requirements contained in 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

4.      In the instant case, the complainant contends that the respondents failed to comply with the Commission’s December 16, 2009 order by failing to provide him with copies of the 135 pages of records described in paragraph 3, above.

 

5.      At the hearing in this matter, the respondents acknowledged that they had not provided the records to the complainant. 

 

6.      It is found that counsel for the respondents mistakenly closed and archived the file without providing the records to the complainant.

 

7.      It is found that upon learning that the records had not been provided, counsel for the respondents retrieved the file from archives. 

 

8.      It is found that counsel did not ask the respondents for another copy of the 135 pages of records that the respondents originally gathered in response to the complainant’s request in Docket #FIC 2008-028.  It is found that gathering the records again would have been quicker than waiting for the file to be retrieved from archives.

 

9.      The respondents concede, and it is found, that the respondents violated the FOI Act as alleged in this non-compliance complaint.

 

10.   At the hearing in this matter, the complainant stated that he needed the records as soon as possible to prepare for an upcoming court hearing.  The Commission commends counsel for the respondents for volunteering to deliver the records to the complainant’s correctional facility on the same afternoon as the hearing in this matter.

 

11.   It is found that on September 14, 2010, the respondents provided the complainant with the records ordered to be disclosed in Docket #FIC2009-028. 

 

12.   It is found that the respondents maintain no other records responsive to the complainant’s request for records, described in Docket #FIC2009-028.

 

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

 

1.      Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the promptness requirements of the FOI Act. 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of January 28, 2011.

 

 

__________________________

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:

 

Luis Fernandez, #279900

Cheshire Correctional Institution

900 Highland Avenue

Cheshire, CT 06410

 

Director, State of Connecticut,

Department of Public Safety, Division

of Scientific Services; and State of

Connecticut, Department of Public Safety

c/o Terrence O’Neill, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-104/FD/paj/1/31/2011