FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket #FIC 2010-200|
Chief, Police Department, City of
Hartford; Police Department, City of
Hartford; and City of Hartford,
|Respondents||January 28, 2011|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 31, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2010-153; Kenneth Krayeske v. Mayor, City of Hartford; and City of Hartford; and Docket #FIC 2010-156; Kenneth Krayeske v. Chief, Police Department, City of Hartord; Police Department, City of Hartford; and City of Hartford. 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 on March 3, 2010, the complainant made a written request to the respondent chief of police for copies of all records “prepared, received, transmitted, collected and/or maintained by any department within the City of Hartford related to “the administrative review about the arrest of Ken Krayeske on January 3, 2007.” It is found that the respondent mayor ordered the chief of the Hartford Police Department to perform such review on January 9, 2007.
3. By letter dated on March 25, 2010, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to respond to his request, described in paragraph 2, above.
4. Section 1-200(5), G.S., in relevant part, 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, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law…whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
5. 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.
6. 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.”
7. 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.
8. It is found that on April 7, 2010 the respondents provided six pages of responsive records to the complainant: a letter to the chief from the Office of Legislative Research inquiring about the Hartford Police Department’s practice when setting bail for people arrested for misdemeanors and about the bail set for the complainant; the chief’s single page response to the letter; a two-page memorandum from the chief to the mayor, dated January 9, 2007, reviewing the complainant’s arrest six days earlier; and a follow-up two-page memorandum from a lieutenant to the chief, dated January 22, 2007, providing information about the complainant’s arrest.
9. It is found that the respondents provided no evidence as to the reason for the delay of seven weeks in providing two letters and two memoranda to the complainant.
10. It is found that the respondents provided no evidence as to the diligence of their search for records. It is found that the respondents failed to provide any records used by the chief in his administrative review of the complainant’s arrest. It is also found that the respondents failed to provide any records used by the lieutenant in preparing his memorandum to the chief, such as the incident report his memorandum references.
11. In light of the high-profile and controversial nature of the complainant’s arrest, the mayor’s order for an administrative review, and the anticipated litigation by the complainant against the respondents, it is reasonable to infer, and it is found, that the respondents maintain more than six pages of records responsive to the complainant’s request.
12. It is found that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to provide records in a prompt manner and by failing either to provide all the records responsive to the complainant’s request or to provide evidence as to the diligence of their search for such records.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. Forthwith, the respondents shall search for copies of records requested by the complainant, described in paragraph 2 of the findings of fact. The respondents shall provide copies of such records, if any, to the complainant, and shall provide an affidavit describing their search, including the files searched and the search terms used for searching electronic files.
2. Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the requirements of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of January 28, 2011.
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:
Brown & Welsh, P.C.
530 Preston Avenue
P.O. Box 183
Meriden, CT 06450
Chief, Police Department, City of Hartford; Police Department, City of Hartford; and City of Hartford
c/o Lori Mizerak, Esq. and Nathalie Feola-Guerrieri, Esq.
Office of the Corporation Counsel
550 Main Street, Room 303
Hartford, CT 06103
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission