FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
George Leniart,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-724
Freedom of Information Officer,
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional
Institution; and
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
 
  Respondents September 28, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 6 and August 22, 2011, at which times the complainant and respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  This case was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2010-745, George M. Leniart v. Warden, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction, Gates Correctional Institution; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction. 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.). The respondents submitted the records at issue in this case for an in camera inspection.

 

            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 October 26, 2010, the complainant requested copies of records of several log book entries concerning the cell assignment of another inmate whom the complainant refused to allow into his cell, the entry of State Police officers into the correctional facility housing the complainant, and the “F-pod” log book entry concerning himself and the cell assignment of the inmate that the complainant refused to allow into his cell.

 

3.      By letter of complaint filed November 16, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with the copies of the records he requested.

 

4.      It is found that the respondents denied the complainant’s request on November 30, 2010, based on a claim that 1-210(b)(18)(G), G.S., exempted the records from mandatory disclosure.

 

5.      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.

 

6.      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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.

 

7.      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.”

 

8.       It is concluded that the requested records described in paragraph 2, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

9.        The respondents claim that the requested records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(18)(G) and (H), G.S., which provide that disclosure is not required of:

Records, the disclosure of which the Commissioner of Correction...has reasonable grounds to believe may result in a safety risk, including the risk of harm to any person or the risk of an escape from, or a disorder in, a correctional institution or facility under the supervision of the Department of Correction... Such records shall include, but are not limited to:

(G)  Logs or other documents that contain information on the movement or assignment of inmates or staff at correctional institutions or facilities; and

(H)  Records that contain information on contacts between inmates, as defined in section 18-84, and law enforcement officers.

10.   It is found that the respondents maintain only three single-page records responsive to the complainant’s request, which records were submitted for an in camera inspection.   

 

11.   It is found that one of the records identifies a State Police officer who entered Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution for the purpose of interviewing an inmate.

 

12. It is found that the complainant believes that the inmate he refused to allow into his cell was a “snitch,” and that the “snitch” was interviewed by a State Police officer. It is further found that inmates believed to be “snitches” are subject to attack or retaliation by other inmates.

 

13.  It is concluded that the Commissioner of Correction has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of record described in paragraph 11, above, may result in a safety risk, and that the record is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(18)(H), G.S.

 

14.  It is found that the other two records contain information on the assignment of inmates at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution.

 

15.  It is concluded that the records described in paragraph 13, above, are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(18)(G), G.S.

 

16.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by refusing to provide the complainant with the requested records.

 

 

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 September 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:

 

George Leniart #250010

c/o Hilary Carpenter, Esq.

Deputy Assistant Public Defender

Office of the Chief Public Defender

2275 Silas Deane Highway

Rocky Hill, CT  06067

 

Freedom of Information Officer, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction, Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional

Institution; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction

c/o Nicole Anker, Esq.

State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT  06109

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-724/FD/cac/9/28/2011