FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Joshua Ramos,

 
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-672

Warden, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

Northern Correctional Institution; and

State of Connecticut, Department of

Correction,

 
  Respondents

August 24, 2011

       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 13, 2011, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 dated October 19, 2010 and received on October 25, 2010, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act, by failing to comply with his October 13, 2010 request for records related to a March 8, 2010 incident during which he was bitten by a K-9 officer.

 

3.      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. 

 

4.      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 section 1-212. 

 

5.      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.”

 

6.       It is found that the requested records, to the extent such records exist, are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

7.      It is found that on March 8, 2010, the complainant was involved in an altercation with at least one other inmate, in which a hand-made weapon was involved and correctional officers, including a K-9 officer, were called to the scene.  It is found that the complainant was bitten by the K-9 officer in the efforts to suppress the violence.

 

8.      It is found that on March 14, 2010, the complainant filed a grievance with the respondents alleging excessive use of force and that during his efforts to understand why his grievance had been “compromised,” he learned that an administrative investigation related to the March 8th incident was being conducted. 

 

9.      It is found that in response to prior requests for records, the complainant was provided with copies of the “incident report” related to the March 8th incident but not the records related to the administrative investigation.

 

10.  It is found that, eventually, he received a July 8, 2010 letter denying his request for the administrative investigation, with the claim that such records are exempt from disclosure.

 

11.  It is found that by letter dated October 13, 2010, the complainant made another request to the respondents for a copy of “any and all documents or records of the investigation concerning the incident on March 8, 2010 [during] which [he] was bitten by the DOC K-9 [officer].”

 

12.  It is found that after receipt of the complaint in this matter, the respondents conducted a search for, and a review of, records of any administrative investigation related to the March 8th incident. 

 

13.  It is found that while the respondents’ July 8, 2010, response, described in paragraph 10, above, reasonably led the complainant to believe that records responsive his specific request existed, the respondents do not maintain any records of an administrative investigation related to the K-9 officer biting the complainant or to his allegation of the use of excessive force. 

 

14.  It is found that the respondents maintain records of an administrative investigation related to the March 8th incident, however, those records are not responsive to the complainant’s request because they do not pertain to the K-9 officer biting the complainant or to the allegation of the use of excessive force.

 

15.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant in this matter.

 

 

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

 

1.      The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 24, 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:

 

Joshua Ramos #326186

MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution

1153 East Street South

Suffield, CT  06080

 

Warden, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,

Northern Correctional Institution; and State of Connecticut

Department of Correction

c/o Nancy B. Canney, Esq.

Department of Correction

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT  06109

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-672/FD/cac/8/24/2011