FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Richard Brundage,     
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-655
Chief, Police Department, City of
Waterbury; and Police Department, City of
Waterbury,
 
  Respondents July 27, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 3, 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 September 2, 2010, the complainant requested a copy of all records related to his arrest.

 

3.      It is found that the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s request on September 14, 2010. 

 

4.      It is found that on September 23, 2010, the respondents sent a letter to the complainant, informing him that they were denying his request for records because they are confidential pursuant to 17a-101k, G.S.

 

5.      By letter of complaint filed October 19, 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. 

 

6.      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.

 

7.      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.

 

8.      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.”

 

9.      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.

 

10.   Section 17a-101k(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall maintain a registry of the commissioner's findings of abuse or neglect of children. . . The information contained in the registry and any other information relative to child abuse, wherever located, shall be confidential, subject to such statutes and regulations governing their use and access as shall conform to the requirements of federal law or regulations.  (Emphasis added.)

 

11.   Following the hearing in this matter, the respondents submitted the requested records for in camera inspection, which pages shall be identified herein as IC-2010-655-1 through IC-2010-655-71.

 

12.   Upon careful inspection of the records referenced in paragraph 11, above, it is found that such records contain information relative to child abuse, except as described in paragraph 17, below.

 

13.   It is concluded that, except for the records described in paragraph 17, below, the records are confidential pursuant to 17a-101k, G.S.  See Groton Police Dept. v. Freedom of Information Commission, 104 Conn. App. 150 (2007).

 

14.   It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by not disclosing the records to the complainant, except for the records described in paragraph 17, below.

 

15.   The respondents also claim that 1-210(b)(3)(F), G.S., exempts portions of some of the records from disclosure.  Section 1-210(b)(3)(F), G.S., exempts:

 

Records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of … (F) the name and address of the victim of a sexual assault under section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a, or injury or risk of injury, or impairing of morals under section 53-21, or of an attempt thereof[.]

 

16.   Upon careful inspection of the records referenced in paragraph 11, above, it is found that such records are also exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(F), G.S., except as described in paragraph 17, below.

 

17.   It is found that the records described below contain some information that is not relative to child abuse (17a-101k, G.S.) and does not identify the name and address of a victim of a sexual assault (1-210(b)(3)(F), G.S.):

 

a.       IC-2010-655-1, publicly identified on the Index as the Information:  all;

 

b.      IC-2010-655-2, publicly identified on the Index as Case/Incident Report, page 1: all except lines 12 through 34;

 

c.       IC-2010-655-3 through IC-2010-655-4, publicly identified on the Index as Case/Incident Report, page 2 and 3:  first two lines and the signature portion at the bottom of the form;

 

d.      IC-2010-655-5 through IC-2010-655-9*, publicly identified on the Index as Arrest Warrant Application:  all except the body paragraphs of the Affidavit;

 

e.       IC-2010-655-11 through IC-2010-655-15, publicly identified on the Index as Supplementary Report:  caption at the top of the page (case number, date, title of form) and names and signatures of police officers and supervisor at the bottom of the page, and date;

 

f.       IC-2010-655-16 through IC-2010-655-21, publicly identified on the Index as Statement:  caption at the top of the page (case number, date title of form), signature of police officers and date of when originals taken to Court, and certifications of investigating officers and date at the bottom of each page.

 

18.   It is found that the records described in paragraph 17, above, are not exempt from disclosure.  It is concluded that the respondents violated the FOI Act by failing to make such redactions and disclose the redacted records to the complainant.

 

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

 

1.   The respondents shall promptly provide to the complainant copies of the non-exempt records he requested, as described in paragraph 17 of the findings of fact.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 27,  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:

 

Richard Brundage #355559

Cheshire Correctional Institution

900 Highland Avenue

Cheshire, CT  06410

 

Chief, Police Department, City of Waterbury; and

Police Department, City of Waterbury

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

Corporation Counsel’s Office

235 Grand Street, 3rd Floor

Waterbury, CT  06702

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-655/FD/cac/7/29/2011

         

                                                                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



* IC-2010-655-10, publicly identified on the Index as Arrest Warrant Application page 5 (of five pages) was inadvertently omitted from the in camera submission.  However, the same partial disclosure would apply to page 5 as to the other four pages, as described in paragraph 17.d in the findings of fact, above.