Connecticut, USA

Connecticut Public Records Guide

Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (Connecticut FOIA)

Conn.Gen.Stat.§1-200 et seq

Established 1975

The Connecticut FOIA holds all agencies subject to the law except certain judicial records like judge’s records and dockets. Any person in any state can request records from Connecticut, and it will take four days for an agency there to give you records or deny or extend the request. If you can’t get a fee waiver, it will cost you either 25 or 50 cents a page for copying, depending on whether the agency is state or local. Connecticut has strong enforcement laws, allowing for thousands in penalties and if an agency is purposeful enough in withholding information they can be charged with a class A misdemeanor which can carry a jail term with it.

Exemptions in Connecticut have a good amount of case law allowing the requester to be able to do better research to ascertain how they should phrase a request. There exemptions however, are fairly standard if you are used to filing state level requests-there aren’t any really major curveballs with CT’s 25 different exemptions. We have a section on these, and also a helpful link in our resource section if you need to read up on any.

Appeal deadlines come up fast in Connecticut, 30 days to be exact. That being said, Connecticut has a helpful appeal process, with the Freedom of Information Commission being created to mediate appeals between requesters and agencies.

The Law

No citizenship requirement FOIC can help mediate appeals and brings serious enforcement All branches open for request except some judicial records 4 day response time

Supplemental

Connecticut record retention schedule

Connecticut court records

The Details

Can you submit a request if you’re not a resident?

Yes.

To whom does this apply?

Executive?

Yes.

Legislative?

Yes.

Judicial?

Yes, but only in regard to its administrative functions. Documents such as docket sheets and tape recordings of court proceedings are not considered public records. Relevant legal precedents were set by Clerk of the Superior Court v. FOIC, 278 Conn. 28, 37, 895 A.2d 743 (2006), Fromer v. FOIC, 43 Conn. Supp. 246 (1993), aff’d, 36 Conn. App. 155, 649 A.2d 540 (1994), and Rules Comm. of the Superior Court v. FOIC, 192 Conn. 234, 472 A.2d 9 (1984).

Who is exempted?

Many records of the judiciary, and private entities that do not receive state funding, and do not serve a governmental purpose.

Is there a designated records custodian?

Yes, an ombudsman from the Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) can act as a liaison on an appeal and mediate between you and the agency.

How long do they have to respond?

They have four days to either process or deny your request, barring a written notice informing you of an extension.

Does the agency have to give you a tracking number or estimated date of completion?

No.

Can they ask why you ask?

No.

What enforcement?

If you win your appeal and the FOIC has “reasonable grounds” to do so, they may impose a fine on an offending agency of not more than $1,000. If the agency knowingly and purposefully disobeyed the law and withheld records, they may be guilty of a class A misdemeanor which carries a sentence of a year in jail and $2,000 in fines. If an agency does not heed the judgement of the FOIC and turn over records, then it is guilty of a class B misdemeanor which has a possible sentence of six months in jail and up to $1,000 in penalties.

Fees?

State fees for copying are set at 25 cents per page, and other public agencies can charge 50 cents per page. No other fees are authorized except charges at actual cost to the agency for transcription and electronic records.

Are there fee waivers for media requests or those made in the public interest?

Yes, one must be able to prove they are requesting for the benefit of the public though.

Attorney’s fees - Can you win them?

Yes.

Exemptions and Appeals

What exemptions exist?

Connecticut has 25 specific exemptions. These cover various topics, from personal privacy and certain medical records, public security, to preliminary drafts and trade secrets. Real estate appraisals by agencies, financial statements of agency employees, many Department of Corrections records including training manuals, and five kinds of law enforcement records including publicly undisclosed investigatory records, are all included. Some of the more interesting exemptions include park employees being found exempt due to not being a public agency by the laws definitions, and judges’ records being deemed exempt.. A thorough guide to these exemptions by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press can be found in our resource section.

Do they have to tell you why a portion or pages were redacted or withheld?

Yes.

How much time do you have to appeal?

Connecticut has a short appeal window of thirty days.

Can you appeal the courts?

Yes, if your appeal is denied by the FOIC then you can bring your case to Connecticut Superior Court.

Resources

Organizations

New England First Amendment Coalition

Connecticut Foundation for Open Government

Attorneys and Law Firms

The following attorneys and law firms have practiced public records law. Names marked with an asterisk have indicated a willingness to offer pro bono services on a case by case basis.

There are currently no experienced public records law attorneys that we know of in Connecticut. Write to us at info@MuckRock.com if you know of any and want to help us out!

Successful appeals

News Stories on Public Records Laws in the State

Members of CT General Assembly Vow to Protect State FOIA

Blogs and feeds primarily focused on public records in Connecticut

Public Records Guide and Advice

RCFP Connecticut exemptions breakdown

Newsletters

Let us know

Big FOIA wins

Have a public records success story? Let us know!

Stats

Request Record
273 Filed
101 Completed
11 Rejected
74 No Responsive Documents
27 Awaiting Acknowledgement
31 Awaiting Response
12 Requiring Action
57 Overdue
Appeals
1 appeal awaiting response
Allowed Response Time
4 days
Average Response Time
52 days
Success Rate
34.07%
Average Fee
$56.63
5.49% of requests have a fee

Top Agencies See All

Agency Requests Pages Released
Office of the Governor 139 70
Connecticut Lottery Corporation 126 269
Department of Economic and Community Development 113 501
Connecticut Insurance Department 108 1,534
Connecticut State Police 77 645
Department of Corrections 61 384
Connecticut State Department of Education 45 1,601
University of Connecticut 31 93
Department of Public Health 30 0
Office of the Attorney General - Connecticut 30 97

Top Localities See All

Jurisdiction Requests Pages Released
Hartford, CT 24 34
Middletown, CT 22 14
Norwalk, CT 17 8
New Haven, CT 15 0
Bridgeport, CT 15 31
Greenwich, CT 14 108
Newington, CT 10 65
Waterbury, CT 9 8
Trumbull, CT 9 10
Watertown, CT 9 46