Thursday, August 14, 2014

Caveat Petitor! Let The Petitioner Beware! Memo To CT's FOI Commission & The Citizens It Is Charged With Serving

  • NEW: CT Asst. AG in #FOIA suppression case fined for ethical misconduct in another matter

  • By Andy Thibault and Isaac Avilucea

    HARTFORD -- In the history of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission, it has always been a guiding principle that lay or non-lawyer complainants do not need to be represented by counsel. This is because it is the job of the hearing officer to make sure the lay complainant is able to present a case while at the same time hearing the evidence in a fair and impartial manner.

    We currently have a case in which state police wrongly withheld easily-retrievable public records. Their failure to produce public records promptly is colored by their alleged and phony rationale that the salient documents related to a pending case. They ultimately produced the records four months late, but, before the case was adjudicated.

    Connecticut’s FOI law demands prompt production of documents. Generally, prompt means immediately unless the public agency can demonstrate that production of the public records would interfere with the normal course of business.

    Our FOI complaint – lodged in December 2013 – was heard on July 30, 2014. The hearing officer was Commissioner Matthew Streeter. The case was logged as 2013-775, Isaac Avilucea / Andy Thibault / Register Citizen V. Connecticut State Police.

    Regardless of any draft decision Streeter might put forward, his bias and negligence pose a dire warning for any lay complainants who appear before the FOI Commission going forward ...

  • Complete column at Register Citizen

  • Also at:

  • New Haven Register

  • Middletown Press

  • Andy Thibault is a contributing editor and columnist for 21st Century Media’s Connecticut publications and the author of “more COOL JUSTICE.” He formerly served as a hearing officer and commissioner for the FOI Commission. Isaac Avilucea, a 2011 graduate of the University of New Mexico, joined the reporting staff of The Connecticut Law Tribune in August 2014 after covering cops, courts and schools for The Register Citizen.

  • Streeter official bio

  • Register Citizen, Jan. 1, 2014: Vance said his department decided what constituted prompt production.

  • Debate rages over FOI response times

  • 'They are trying to keep a lid on this'


  • Bentivegna: Income Inequality is Caused by a Lack of Moral Hazard

    By Dr. Joseph Bentivegna

    It is the consensus of opinion leaders that income inequality is a major political issue. Mayor DeBlasio, who ran on this issue in the recent New York City mayoral race, won by a 43% landslide.

    There are various causes cited on both sides of the political aisles. Conservatives cite globalization and advancing technologies allowing corporations to either export jobs overseas or replace workers here with automation. Liberals favor a more progressive tax structure in order to redistribute wealth. Both sides cite numerous facts, figures and academic studies to support their view. And both are wrong.

    The real cause of income inequality is what economists call “moral hazard.” Simply explained, it means that human beings will take significant financial risks if they are assured they will not suffer the consequences. For example, a blackjack player may be unwilling to take a $10,000 loan to gamble; however, the same individual would be perfectly willing to gamble away a $10,000 loan given the assurance that the loan did not have to be paid back.

  • Complete column

  • Dr. Joseph Bentivegna, an eye surgeon, is a novelist and the author of non-fiction books including ‘When to Refuse Treatment' and ‘The Neglected and Abused: A Physician’s Year in Haiti.’ Watch for the seventh edition of the Haiti book in September 2014 via
  • IceBox Publishing

  • Blast from the past: Willie Pep event photos and Bentivegna remembrance, ‘Call me Willie’

  • Monday, August 11, 2014

    Thursday, August 07, 2014

    'more COOL JUSTICE,' a 2nd collection of narrative storytelling about cops, courts, poets, writers, missing persons, musicians, boxers, other extraordinary personae, real douche bags & victims of the so-called justice system:

    Update, 8-10-14:
  • Now @AmazonKindle

  • Other EBook venues to follow, with print edition scheduled for September 2014.

  • Print pre-order here

  • more COOL JUSTICE website

  • 5 photos at bottom of this post:

    ‘BLUE NOTE,’

    published 5-27-13, led to clemency hearing and freedom

  • IceBox Publishing, Westport, CT

  • Introduction by Ravi Shankar

    Prologue by Ondi Timoner

    Foreword by Andrew Kreig

  • Cover design / more COOL JUSTICE website by Carin Handsun, iweb results

  • Cover photo courtesy of
  • Chloe Poisson

  • and The Hartford Courant:

    Bonnie Foreshaw Released

    Journalist Andy Thibault waves to Bonnie Foreshaw (off camera) after Foreshaw inquired, “Where’s Andy?” during a press conference at Bridebrook Park in Niantic minutes after Foreshaw was released from nearby York Correctional after serving 27 years of a 45-year sentence for the murder of Joyce Amos. Thibault was instrumental in Foreshaw being granted clemency after uncovering a memo written 24 years ago by then-public defender Jon Blue about the mishandling of Foreshaw’s legal defense. With Thibault are author Wally Lamb, a friend and supporter of Foreshaw, and Wilburt Guy a friend, supporter and former co-worker of Foreshaw. (Photo courtesy of Hartford Courant / Cloe Poisson, November 15, 2013)

    Documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner of Interloper Films follows up on her 1994 work “The Nature of the Beast” during Bonnie Foreshaw’s clemency hearing at a Niantic jail on Oct. 9, 2013.
    - Back cover photo by Bob Thiesfield

  • Interloper Films

  • ‘more COOL JUSTICE’ EBook coming soon; print edition scheduled for September

    Print pre-order available via

  • IceBox


    What they’re saying about 'more COOL JUSTICE'

    “No one escapes Andy Thibault’s fierce gaze and blistering pen – no one. So, here’s fair warning to all who abuse their power, overreach their office, dip their hands in the till, violate the public’s trust, suppress evidence, obstruct justice, or perhaps merely look the other way: you’d best run for the hills when you hear him coming. This collection turns over the rocks so we can all see the squiggly mess beneath, and, in an era of shrinking media independence, proves there are still gumshoes who care about squashing those bugs.”

    - Christine Palm, poet, writer & Communications Director, CT Permanent Commission on the Status of Women


    “Predictably courageous reporting”

  • Maureen Orth, Vanity Fair Special Correspondent

  • “I don’t even know how he found out about my case; I was sitting in an immigration cell waiting to find out when I was going to be deported for my post 9-11 [so called] ‘anti-American’ poetry when I heard about the article. It was during a phone conversation with my wife, it was the first time since my arrest that I could feel the hope I heard in her voice as she read it to me. Even though we hadn’t ever met, Andy wrote the article like we had been lifetime friends. The article garnered so much attention that the immigration judge I eventually faced commented on it in his closing by saying, ‘You could’ve been a little easier on us.’ Since then I have had the pleasure of knowing this tenacious, truth driven brother I proudly call my friend.”

    - IYABA MANDINGO, painter, actor, poet, playwright & author of ‘unFRAMED,’ ‘41 Times,’ ‘Sins of My Fathers’

    “When they came up with the term ‘muckraker’ a little over a century ago, they had Andy Thibault in mind. Unafraid, even eager to take on the highest authorities, as outraged by an injustice to anyone as he would be as if it had been done to his best friend, Thibault sounds the alarm and runs with it anytime he finds an individual or a family being chewed up by a corporate or governmental tractor. His columns are written with energy, passion, grace, and style. They are about events in Connecticut, but I commend them to anyone who loves freedom and wants all human beings treated with decency and respect.”

    -PAUL LEVINSON, PhD, Fordham Prof & author of ‘New New Media’ and ‘The Plot to Save Socrates’

    “Andy Thibault writes in the tradition of the great American dissenters. He’s tough, he’s fearless, he’s factually scrupulous. He’s a champion of underdogs and a deflater of overdogs. He’s a defender of free speech in an age of the pile-on and the slap-down.”

    - Tim Dumas, author, ‘A Wealth of Evil – The True Story of the Murder of Martha Moxley in America’s Richest Community’

    “Andy Thibault inspires the best in us because he does not fight for justice as just some abstraction, but for real, ready to jump into the fray and expose the lies of the powerful. It’s an honor to know him and a true pleasure to have this new book documenting his important work. He’s relentless, funny as hell, incisive in his analysis, deeply sympathetic, and, yes, cool!”

    - Jon Andersen, Quinebaug Valley CC Prof and author of ‘Stomp and Sing’

    Should I ever be framed and sent to rot in one of America’s prisons, I hope there will be some way I can get a note out to Andy Thibault. I think every reader of more COOL JUSTICE will feel the same thing. Thibault’s passion for justice, his dogged determination, and his considerable gift as a journalist make him one of the true enemies of this nation’s all-too-abundant corruption and injustice. This book heartened me, because it proves there are still journalists who care more about the truth than smooth approval at corporate cocktail parties.

    -- Brent Buell, Author of RAPTUROUS, prison reform advocate and theater producer

    Andy Thibault's actions work to protect our First Amendment rights and to uncover those governmental and agency actions which need to be brought to light, reminds me of the work done an epidemiologist always ready to act before a virus becomes a health threat, or a surgeon who knows exactly how to extract a tumor. We are lucky to have someone watching our backs who is as dedicated and unrelenting as Andy.

  • Bessy Reyna
  • former Hartford Courant opinion columnist

    --- The
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