Topic: FOIA

Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may engage in “self-help” and copy a public record through the use of a “hand-held scanner”. Connecticut General Statutes §1-212(g).  A “hand held scanner”…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA (Part Three): Trying To Do The Right Thing Is A Good Thing Under The FOIA

In our latest posting on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], we confirm that the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has a heart, and may sometimes forgive technical non-compliance by public agencies and their employees. Honesty and good faith = highly moral and good FOIA strategy I often preach that honesty, common sense and an…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds And The FOIA (Part Two): Can You See My Notes (And Calendar)?

For those who still cannot get enough after my latest post on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], here are more nuggets from the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. Today, we focus on written notes and calendar entries. When are personal notes FOIA-able? Generally, but not always, one’s own personal notes may be exempt from…

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Drafting Agendas: Three Reasons to be More Specific than “Attorney-Client Privileged Communication – Executive Session Anticipated”

One of the most regularly used reasons to enter executive session is to discuss a matter that would result in the disclosure of communications that are privileged by the attorney-client relationship. The agenda item often appears as this: “Discussion and possible action on attorney-client privileged communication – executive session anticipated.” Unfortunately, this agenda item will…

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Everything That You Ever Wanted to Know About The Attorney-Client Privilege and The FOIA But Were Afraid to Ask: The Latest

As a self-described FOIA nerd, I have written in these pages about issues pertaining to the effect of the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] on the attorney-client privilege (and vice versa).  In a plethora of recent decisions, the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has provided further guidance on these issues. Briefly, the FOIA exempts from its…

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Presidential Politics, E-Mail, And The FOIA: Why It Should Matter To You

The federal Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] has recently made its way into national new stories for all the wrong reasons.  Hillary Clinton has become enmeshed in a controversy involving her use of a “private” e-mail account for conducting official business.  In addition, in a development that can charitably be described as ironic, the White House…

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Use Of Police Reports By School District In The Aftermath Of The Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling

Police reports are a practical tool for school districts in investigating (and countering) both student and employee misconduct.   The Connecticut Supreme Court has resolved an intense debate about what law enforcement agencies are required to release with regard to arrest records and associated reports.  In agreeing to uphold limits to disclosure of such records, the…

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Loose Lips Sink Ships: The Limits of the Attorney-Client Privilege and the Dangers of “Public” Reliance Upon Your Attorney’s Opinions

Public agencies often secure opinions from legal counsel to guide their actions. However, these agencies should be aware that what they say in public about the advice given may jeopardize the confidentiality of the legal opinion. In Cragg v. First Selectman Town of Marlborough, #FIC 2013-452 (May 28, 2014), a citizen requested a copy of…

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Just The Facts: Charter Schools (and Cutting Through Some Myths and Hot Air)

As anyone reading the newspapers can observe, Connecticut charter schools are receiving some unwanted attention these days due to: 1) a myriad of issues involving a charter school management company; and 2) virulent attacks from, among others, those who either currently hold or who hope to attain political office. Once politically favored by both major…

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Tales From The Green Room: My FOIA Book, My Television Interview and Why Public Agencies Should Care

On June 7th, 2014, I had the good fortune of being the guest on Focus on Connecticut, which is a weekly, half-hour public affairs show on “News 12 Connecticut.”    The show is hosted by Tom Appleby, a veteran news journalist in the best sense of those terms. The purpose of my appearance was to discuss…

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