norfolk DA appeal

Jason Pugatch filed this request with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Public Records Division of Massachusetts.


From: Jason Pugatch

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 and Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10.

On December 14, 2015 I made a FOIA request to the Norfolk County District Attorney for records relating to the prosecution of Joseph Donovan, an inmate at MCI Cedar Junction, for the assault and battery of a correctional officer on July 17, 2000, including several exhibits. On January 08, 2016, that agency denied my request. Copies of my request and the denial are enclosed. {Note: a similar request for documents related to this incident, made to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, is currently under review by your office (Case # SPR15/922).}

The information which I have requested is clearly releasable under FOIA and, in my opinion, may not validly be protected by any of the Act‘s exemptions.

I oppose the exemptions on which you are denying access to the records as follows:

1. "personnel and medical files or information; and also any other materials or data relating to a specifically named individual, the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. G.L. c. 4, § 7 (26) (c).

Corrections officers are public safety officers and their privacy rights extend to personal facts, not the performance of their jobs. In addition, the corrections officers in this incident testified in open court, and were identified by name, against the Defendant Joseph Donovan.

Additionally, all matters of criminal investigation, trials and appeals are now past their statute of limitations.

Please see appeal (Case # SPR15/922) in regards to argument made about CORI statute.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

As I have made this request in the capacity of a Documentary Filmmaker and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your expediting the consideration of my appeal in every way possible.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.


Jason Pugatch
Shepardgate Films LLC

From: Rastellini, Patricia (SEC)

Please be advised that you did not attach your request or their denial. Please forward, thank you.

From: MuckRock

Hello Ms. Rastellini,

Thank you for your message. Please find attached the relevant denial letter.

Thank you,
Beryl, MuckRock

From: Rastellini, Patricia (SEC)

Thank you for a copy of the denial letter, however, you didn’t forward a copy of your original request which is needed.

From: Rastellini, Patricia (SEC)

Good morning Mr. Pugatch,

Your email request dated January 22, 2016, Norfolk DA. Is this a new appeal?

Thank you,

Patricia H. Rastellini
Office Manager
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Public Records Division
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2832

From: Jason Pugatch

There seems to have been some cross-communication. It is one appeal on one original request. I will have all the documents sent. Thanks.

From: Rastellini, Patricia (SEC)

Thanks very much.

From: MuckRock

Hello Ms. Rastellini,

Please find attached the initial denial letter provided in response to this public records request.

Thank you.