FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Kacey Lewis,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-497
Chief, Police Department, City of
Waterbury; and Police Department, City of
Waterbury,
 
  Respondents June 22, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 31, 2011, 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.      It is found that on July 12, 2010, the complainant requested a copy of “the 911 call that was recorded by [the respondents] on 07-21-2009, at 12:33 a.m.”  The complainant also requested all records related to the 911 call.

 

3.      By letter of complaint filed August 12, 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 the records he requested.  The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties.

 

4.      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.

 

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 … 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 the respondents sent a letter to the complainant on July 19, 2010, in which they informed him that they received his request and were searching for the requested records.  It is found that the respondents informed the complainant that prepayment of any copying fee would be required if the cost was $10.00 or more, at 50 cents per page.  It is found that the respondents also reminded the complainant that any records would need to be reviewed by the FOI Office of the Department of Correction, and that if DOC did not object to disclosure, then the records would be provided to the complainant.

 

9.      It is found that on August 4, 2010, the respondents provided to their counsel a CD containing a copy of the recording of the 911 call that the complainant requested.  It is found that counsel reviewed the recording for any exemptions.

 

10.   It is found that on September 1, 2010, the respondents informed the complainant that they had the recording of the 911 call on a CD, but told the complainant that they would not be sending it because they believed that DOC does not permit inmates to have CDs.  It is found that the respondents also told the complainant that they located four pages of records that were responsive to his request.  It is found that the respondents demanded payment of $2.00 before sending the four pages to DOC for their review.

 

11.   It is found that on September 27, 2010, the complainant wrote to the respondents and requested that they send the CD to DOC for his inspection.

 

12.   It is found that on September 28, 2010, the respondents wrote to the complainant, informing him that they were sending the CD to the DOC.  The respondents also suggested that the complainant send “someone on the outside” to the respondents’ offices to receive the CD, at a cost of $5.00, paid in advance.

 

13.   It is found that on September 30, 2010, DOC returned the CD to the respondents, and advised them that the CD “cannot be provided to the inmate in accordance with the DOC Administrative Directive.”

 

14.   It is found that on November 23, 2010, the complainant wrote to the respondents, and informed them that he still wished to receive copies of the records he requested, and was searching for someone in the community to receive them on his behalf.

 

15.   It is found that on January 31, 2011, the complainant’s sister paid $7.00 to the respondents and received the CD and five pages of records.

 

16.  The complainant alleges that the respondents were not prompt in providing the records he requested and that the respondents improperly demanded prepayment of fees.

 

17.  Section 1-212(a)(2), G.S., permits the respondents to charge 50 cents per page for copies of records.  Section 1-212(c), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “A public agency may require the prepayment of any fee required or permitted under the Freedom of Information Act if such fee is estimated to be ten dollars or more.”

 

18.  It is concluded that 1-212(c), G.S., does not require an agency to deliver copies of records prior to receiving payment.

 

19.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by not providing the records to the complainant until they received payment.  With respect to the CD, it is found that the respondents attempted to provide the disc on September 28, 2010, but DOC prevented the complainant from receiving it. 

 

20.  Accordingly, 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 June 22,  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:

 

Kacey Lewis #165480

Northern Correctional Institution

P.O. Box 665

Somers, CT  06071

 

Chief, Police Department, City of Waterbury; and

Police Department, City of Waterbury

c/o Kevin J. Daly, Jr., Esq.

Corporation Counsel’s Office

26 Kendrick Avenue

8th Floor

Waterbury, CT  06702

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-497/FD/cac/6/27/2011