|Submitted||Nov. 5, 2020|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, I hereby request the following records:
Records responsive to an query for either the name Arfan Butt or his Department Identification Number 09R3872, where they fall into the following list of items from the DOCCS Subject Matter List:
* COMMUNITY SUPERVISION: Interstate Supervision; Parolee Closed Files (Central and Area Offices); Parolee Open Files (Central and Area Offices); Polygraph; Re-Entry Services; Sex Offenders
* COUNSEL - BOARD OF PAROLE: Parole Revocation Hearings; Parole Appeal Decisions; Parole Violation Records
* INMATE SUBJECTS: Inmate Accounts; Inmate Claims; Inmate Commissary; Inmate Discipline; Inmate Fund Bank Account Files; Inmate Grievance; Inmate Institution Records; Nutritional Services;
* POPULATION MANAGEMENT: Classification and Movement
* OFFICE OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS: Close Monitoring Case Appeals
* PROGRAM SERVICES: Alcohol/Substance Abuse Treatment; Earned Eligibility; Education; Guidance and Counseling; Library Services; Ministerial, Family, and Volunteer Services; Temporary Release; Transitional Services
The aforementioned list is taken from DOCCS's own website at https://doccs.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2019/12/subjectmatterlist2019.pdf and, upon information and belief, this is what DOCCS as an agency considers to be "reasonably detailed."
Mr. Butt was widely reported deceased as of 9/12/2020 in Brooklyn. Please see attached PDF. Under New York State Freedom of Interest Law, the Records Access Officer should assume that the balancing test of review favors the public interest in disclosure over the diminished privacy interests of a deceased person.
The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.
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.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.
Attached please find correspondence from Department of Corrections and Community Supervision regarding your FOIL Request DOCCS-20-11-040.
If you have any questions regarding your FOIL request, please contact the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Records Access Office at the
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Records Access Office
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12226-2050
Please see the attached response to your FOIL request.
Assistant Records Access Officer
Counsel's Office/FOIL Unit
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
The Harriman State Campus, 1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Re: FOIL Log No. DOCCS-20-11-040 (Subject, Arfan Butt)
To whom it may concern:
I appeal on grounds that the agency response is being unnecessarily vague with regard to my request.
The agency does not state which records are being denied on which grounds. This is in contradiction to the agency's own Subject Matter List of records it holds (and should therefore release) pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law, which I quoted verbatim.
This is wrong for three reasons:
* First and foremost: citing privacy interests is wrong and overbroad. The privacy interests of deceased persons are considered diminished as a general rule.
* Second, the agency response cites some need for a Surrogate Court action. There is no mention of the Surrogate Court anywhere in the Freedom of Information Law, and would originate elsewhere.
* Finally, even granting that there may be a compelling legal reason for the agency requiring Surrogate Court action for some portion of the records requested, this is certainly untrue of all the records requested.
The proper approach, therefore, is to deny the request *in part* and also to grant the request *in part*, and to cite which records have fallen into the denial and which have been granted.
I pray for the following twofold relief:
1) To the degree that records I requested that are noted by the agency itself as *explicitly* releaseable under FOIL, and there is no law contradicting this, I demand immediate determination granting access to them and a reasonable estimate of time for processing and fulfillment.
2) To the degree that the agency finds a rationale (which would be outside of FOIL) for withholding records and issuing a denial, I demand specificty: a specific citation for its denial of specific records, and a denial *in part* (not in whole).
I will note with this appeal that under Freedom of Information Law, if the there continues to be demonstrable obstruction of my request for records after this appeal, this constitutes evidence that administrative remedies are exhausted and it may become grounds my filing an Article 78 court action.
This may not only result in an order compel production, but may result in an order for DOCCS to pay my legal costs.
The agency can and should comply with the request forthwith, and should not require a judge to comply with it.
Thanks and regards,
A letter stating that the request appeal has been rejected.