FOI: FIC2015-307

Final Decision FIC2015-307
 
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
 
Julio Burgos Torres,
     Complainant
 
     against
 
Docket #FIC 2015-307
Chief, Police Department, City of Waterbury;
and Police Department, City of Waterbury,
     Respondents
 
 
 
February 24, 2016
 

     The above-captioned matter was heard as contested case on December 29, 2015, at which time the complainant and the 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, 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)(A), G.S.
 
     2.  It is found that, by application dated April 13, 2015, the complainant made a request to the respondents for copies of all records concerning Luis Gonzales and Michael Munoz being active members of the Latin Kings, and specifically including when they were active and when they were not active (the “requested records”).
 
     3.  It is found that, by letter dated April 22, 2015, the respondents responded, stating that they had investigated the complainant’s request and that they did not have records responsive to the request.
 
     4.  It is found that, by letter dated April 29, 2015 and filed with the Commission on May 1, 2015, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the failure of the respondents to provide access to the requested records violated the Freedom of Information Act.
 
     5.  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.
     6.  Sections 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., state, respectively, in relevant parts:
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. 
 
 
Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record. 
     7.  Based on the testimony of Sgt. Francis Monahan, the officer in charge of records at the respondent Department, it is found that the respondents do not maintain any records concerning Luis Gonzales and Michael Munoz being active members of the Latin Kings, and specifically including when they were active and when they were not active.  Sgt. Monahan testified that he checked the routine records maintained by the Department and also spoke with Lt. Michael Ponzillo, the chief of the Vice and Intelligence unit within the respondent Department.  Records previously maintained by the Gang Task Force at the respondent Department are now maintained by the Vice and Intelligence unit.
 
     8.  The complainant testified in considerable detail concerning admissions of gang activity by both Luis Gonzales and Michael Munoz in testimony during various court appearances.  But Luis Gonzales and Michael Munoz telling prosecutors that they engaged in gang activity does not mean that the respondent Department maintained records concerning Luis Gonzales and Michael Munoz being active members of the Latin Kings.  Counsel for the respondents emphasized that certain prosecutors handled their own cases, based on years of experience prosecuting gang related crime.
 
     9.  It is found that the respondents do not maintain the requested records.

     10.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
 
     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 February 24, 2016.
 
 
__________________________
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:
 
Julio Burgos Torres #268558
MacDougll-Walker Correctional Institution
1153 East Street South
Suffield, CT  06080
 
Chief, Police Department, City of Waterbury;
and Police Department, City of Waterbury,
Gary S. Roosa, Esq.
255 East Main Street
Waterbury, CT  06702
 
 
 
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
 
 
 
 
FIC/2015-307/FD/cac/2/24/2016




Content Last Modified on 3/7/2016 3:36:42 PM