Thursday, August 14, 2014

Caveat Petitor! Let The Petitioner Beware! Memo To CT's FOI Commission & The Citizens It Is Charged With Serving - Or, How Govt Enables Cops To Hide Public Records

New doc from FOI Commission
received 8-22-14
at bottom of this post

NEW: 8-21-14
Point-Counterpoint: Klau v. Thibault on FOI – Rounds 1 & 2 ... bout suspended as peace breaks out in search of FOI reform ...

  • Appealingly Brief: Andy Thibault’s Well Intentioned, But Misguided, FOI Op-Ed

  • … Thibault response in comments section …

  • NEW: CT Asst. AG in #FOIA suppression case fined for ethical misconduct in another matter

  • Updated column including reference to AAG O’Neill’s ethical woes posted at Danbury News Times, Connecticut Post, Stamford Advocate & Greenwich Time 8-20-14; links at bottom of this post

    Original column via 21st Century Media CT Group

    By Andy Thibault and Isaac Avilucea

    HARTFORD -- In the history of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission, it has always been a guiding principle that lay or non-lawyer complainants do not need to be represented by counsel. This is because it is the job of the hearing officer to make sure the lay complainant is able to present a case while at the same time hearing the evidence in a fair and impartial manner.

    We currently have a case in which state police wrongly withheld easily-retrievable public records. Their failure to produce public records promptly is colored by their alleged and phony rationale that the salient documents related to a pending case. They ultimately produced the records four months late, but, before the case was adjudicated.

    Connecticut’s FOI law demands prompt production of documents. Generally, prompt means immediately unless the public agency can demonstrate that production of the public records would interfere with the normal course of business.

    Our FOI complaint – lodged in December 2013 – was heard on July 30, 2014. The hearing officer was Commissioner Matthew Streeter. The case was logged as 2013-775, Isaac Avilucea / Andy Thibault / Register Citizen V. Connecticut State Police.

    Regardless of any draft decision Streeter might put forward, his bias and negligence pose a dire warning for any lay complainants who appear before the FOI Commission going forward ...

  • Complete column at Register Citizen

  • Also at:

  • New Haven Register

  • Middletown Press

  • Andy Thibault is a contributing editor and columnist for 21st Century Media’s Connecticut publications and the author of “more COOL JUSTICE.” He formerly served as a hearing officer and commissioner for the FOI Commission. Isaac Avilucea, a 2011 graduate of the University of New Mexico, joined the reporting staff of The Connecticut Law Tribune in August 2014 after covering cops, courts and schools for The Register Citizen.

  • Streeter official bio

  • Flashback: How Streeter handled FOI request -- about himself

  • Register Citizen, Jan. 1, 2014: Vance said his department decided what constituted prompt production.

  • Debate rages over FOI response times

  • 'They are trying to keep a lid on this'


    via Hearst CT papers:

    'Caveat Petitor! Let the Petitioner Beware!'

  • Complete column at Danbury News Times

  • Also at:

  • Connecticut Post

  • Stamford Advocate

  • Greenwich Time

  • Connecticut Network hearing coverage

  • New document received from FOI Commission

    Portentous? Cops get 2 present doc post-hearing b/c hearing record botched????
    ... Evidence presented by complainants, meanwhile, shut out ...

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