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Carter v. Pennsylvania Dep't of Corrections

December 9, 2008

JOHN CARTER, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Senior Judge Flaherty

Submitted: October 3, 2008

BEFORE: HONORABLE DORIS A. SMITH-RIBNER, Judge HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge HONORABLE JIM FLAHERTY, Senior Judge.

OPINION

John Carter (Carter), pro se, petitions for review from a final determination issued by the Department of Corrections (Department) in connection with Carter's request for documents under the law commonly referred to as the Right to Know Law (Law), Act of June 21, 1957, P.L. 390, as amended, 65 P.S. §§ 66.1-66.9. We affirm.

Carter, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Smithfield (SCI-Smithfield) submitted a letter to the Right to Know Law Officer (RTKL Officer) with the Department, seeking the following documents for inspection:*fn1

"Master Index" of all effective Dept. of Corrections procedural policies, including but not limited to, Administrative Directives, Procedure Manuals, and Policy Statements. (This document does not contain any actual procedures and is only a list of titles).

Please Mail to Address below:

January 17, 2008 John Carter #dd1814

SCI-Smithfield

P.O. Box 999 Huntingdon, PA 16652

(Record at 1.) (Emphasis in original.)

On February 4, 2008, the RTKL Officer issued a letter to Carter which stated that "[y]our request for the Master Index of policies is granted. Specifically, you are granted access to the Master Policy Index." (Record at 2.) The letter further informed Carter that he or his representative could inspect the records "at the RTKL Office at the Department's Central Office." Id. Carter was also advised that a copy of the documents could be mailed to him for a cost of $4.46.

Carter thereafter filed exceptions to the decision. He claimed that he could not inspect the records at the RTKL Office at the Department's Central Office and that the requested records should be made available to him at SCI-Smithfield. He also took exception to the $4.46 fee for duplication of the records, maintaining that he did not seek duplication of the records but access thereto.

The Department's Exceptions Officer thereafter issued a final determination. Therein, the Exceptions Officer concluded that the filing of exceptions was not proper, inasmuch as exceptions are only proper when access is denied to documents and here, access was granted to Carter. Additionally, the Exceptions Officer determined that the requested documents were available for Carter's review at the Department's Central Office and that Carter was not entitled to the ...


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