The FOIC had there meeting on 23 OCT 13 in respect to the AbleChild , 2013-197, FIC case.
I was actually at the commission's office at 11:00am and asked to gain entry into their morning meeting that they have before every full commission hearing (they change proposed decisions sometimes, have commissioners participate, and do other business that should be conducted in an open meeting) ~ they refused me entry. I expected that. The refusal resulted in a complaint that I filed with the FIC shortly thereafter for their open meeting violations (not granted access, no meeting notice scheduled on agency or secretary of state website, no agenda posted on both websites, no minutes taken).
I then zipped over to the OCME's office and inquired about further FOI requests that I filed that were much broader than the AbleChild FOI request and to re-serve a request that Mr. Fernow (oversight committee chairman of the OCME) claims he never got (a FOIA request to UCONN (where he works and takes OCME business at) will clear this up as to if it was a fact or a lie).
Back to the commission where they had the full commission meeting to make final decisions.
I noted something amiss in respect to case 2013-060, audio was recorded. In that case the complainant wanted a audio tape made into a full exhibit. This was denied at the preliminary hearing by the hearing officer Paula Pearlman but the recording was taken as "for ID purposes only", a common ploy by hearing officers there. Why is it a ploy? Because under the taking of a record "for ID purposes only" the hearing officer and commission should not consider the record in deciding the case. Now the hearing officer said that she listened to the audio (TWO HOURS) prior to issuing the proposed decision. So it clearly was considered .. she stated that the audio contained information that would not have changed her preliminary decision .. but it never should have been even listened to under the rules that it was taken. And I've heard that story before...ID only records ... that have actually been noted in reaching a major decision by the hearing officer...in one of my cases (it was a favorable decision but I still complained to the full commission and admonished the hearing officer for even using the "ID only" record to make a finding.
The hearing officers simply cannot help themselves ~ they are undisciplined people.
If before a preliminary hearing and a record is not allowed as a full exhibit but the hearing officer wants to take it as "ID only" object object object if the record does not help your case; otherwise, they will rely on it in making their decision whether they admit to this fact (and I have heard several cases where they did rely on "ID only" and I don't recall any case where "ID only" records are properly treated.
So, after that case, the AbleChild case was called, Valicia Harmon was the hearing officer in the preliminary hearing. The OCME had their lawyer there but AbleChild did not show (they did provide a 150 pg or so brief that was not even looked at by any of the commissioners that I could see).
The major contention is the Act and CGS Sec.19a-411b relationship and the OCME regulations that were not produced in accordance to the established procedures outline in our state statues for regulations. AbleChild cited case Salmon Brook Convalescent HomeInc. v. Comm'n on Hospitals & Health Care, 417 A.2d 358, 368 (Conn. 1979) (holding that agency’s “guidelines” were not adopted under the rule-making provisions of the UAPA and were thus “void and of no effect”).
The hearing officer cited a case Galvin v. Freedom of Information Commission, 201 Conn. 448 (1986) that the OCME and commission claimed that overturned the Salmon Brook ruling. Now, previously in a different case, the state argued just the opposite ~ that a DESPP guideline was void because it did not go through the standard regulation processes in several of my cases before the FIC. So the commission seems to pick and choose which regulations or guidelines are void or not. I have another case pending a final full commission hearing and I'll toss out this AbleChild in their face and watch them do a flip-flop again on this subject matter.
The OCME regulation was in respect to a "next of kin" rule - that only the next of kin can authorize release of autopsy reports or other scientific findings. AbleChild requested the autopsy report, toxicology report, and drug history records of Adam Lanza. They only got a one page toxicology report that showed no "drugs" in Lanza..the report does not state what drugs they actually tested for, what specific test method was used (just giving a general class of test), what the detection limits were for the test, and other information that should have been provided to examine the veracity of the conclusion that no drugs were found. Lanza's next of kin released toxicological information to be released (so anyone can request these records).
Oddly enough, the regulation that OCME used to deny access to records as an "interested party" or "member of the public" also contains an allowance to grant access to professionals as well (along with other parties specifically mentioned). Now I am a professional and able to examine test results, raw data collected relating to the results, able to examine test method to examine the veracity of the claim that no drugs were found, as noted in the toxicology report. So I think that anyone could ask for the test methods used to produce the report made public.
In fact I asked for records (I asked for any and all records relating to the shooting) that have nothing to do with the actual work output of the OCME but would have included records relating to who contacted the OCME and what went on as a project-management viewpoint.
Still, the OCME refuses to provide me with ANY records (even the toxicology report that is already public).
And I have met with the Chief medical examiner and he outlined the records that they do have in respect to my request and when I pushed him to state an exemption regarding the non-scientific records that he just stated that they have he claimed to have no idea how the FOI Act works.
Clearly the OCME and the state are hiding something.
Oh, the proposed decision of the hearing officer was made into a final decision by the full commission w/o changes.
The proposed decision is here (it will be posted in the commissions final decision soon):
Last edited by davidmcbeth; 10-25-2013 at 12:18 AM. Reason: include link to decision