State Records Committee Appeal 98-09
LINCOLN SMITH (Mustafa Abdul Aziz), Appellant, vs.
UTAH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Appellee.
DECISION AND ORDER
Appellant Lincoln Smith (a/k/a Mustafa Abdul Aziz) sought an order of the Committee requiring Appellee to supply records originally described in a request dated July 15, 1998 as follows: "Any and all property confiscation forms that were wrote with this case #397-9699." Appellee originally denied the request on July 16, 1998. In his appeal to the State Records Committee, Appellant wrote: "I need the property [confiscation forms] that didn't have an[y] name on them . . . ." Despite some confusion regarding just which forms were requested, in view of the fact that the forms were somewhat confusing inherently, with some forms not having names on them and the forms not disclosing the location from which items were confiscated, the Committee will take the request more broadly as originally described, i.e., "Any and all property confiscation forms that were wrote with this case #397-9699."
The appeal came before the Records Committee on November 17, 1998. Appellant appeared in his own behalf, and presented documentation, testimony and argument. Appellee was represented by Ed Kingsford, and presented documentation, testimony and argument. The State Records Committee, having reviewed the written materials submitted by the parties and having heard testimony and argument, now issues the following decision and order:
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
On November 12, 1998, several days prior to the hearing before the Committee, Appellee found (by happenstance, it states,) several confiscation forms pertaining to case #397-9699 that were not identified by name. These forms Appellee supplied voluntarily to Appellant at the hearing. Remaining in issue were three other confiscation forms pertaining to case #397-9699. These three forms as filled out included the name or names of other prisoners. The Department of Corrections did not refute appellant's contention that the items on these three confiscation forms were taken from his cell. Therefore, the Committee concludes that there is a reasonable possibility the items belong to the Appellant and therefore Appellant is the subject of the forms and entitled to them under Utah Code Section 63-2-202(1) as private records of which he is the subject. To conclude otherwise would deprive appellant of the means even of attempting to prove ownership. (Appellee agrees the records are private under Utah Code Section 63-2-302, but does not address whether Appellant should be deemed the subject of those records.)
WHEREFORE, it is ordered the Appellant's request for access to the three forms in issue described above is granted, the Department of Corrections to redact (or eliminate) the names of prisoners listed on the forms so as to protect their privacy.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to District Court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of this Order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process and governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404 and 63-2-502(7). The Court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights of appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Entered this 20th day of November, 1998.
MAX J. EVANS, Chair
State Records Committee