Gericke v. Town of Weare, Doc. No. 216-2010-E-196 (Hillsborough Super. Ct. North, December 20, 2010) (Tucker, J.)

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No. 10-E-196

Carla Gericke


Town of Weare, et al.


Petitioner Carla Gericke filed a request for certain documents under the Right to Know Law (RSA 91-A). The records she sought pertained to her interaction with police in March 2010, and consisted of certain audio and video recordings made on dashboard recording devices in Weare police department vehicles. She also requested the production of maintenance and usage records for the devices.

The Town answered that it did not possess the information requested. In response to the Town's answer, Gericke filed an Addendum requesting court orders directing an in camera review of the Town's servers to determine their content, and requiring the Town to (1) disclose its policies on maintaining dashboard video recording devices; (2) produce records on the use and maintenance of such equipment; (3) explain why the videos and records sought [2] had "disappeared;" and (4) refrain from tampering with its servers and records until the court reviewed them.

To that point, the Town's representation on the status of the information Gericke sought had come from its counsel. In an interim order dated November 22, 2010, the court directed the Town to file

an affidavit from a person with first-hand knowledge or submit other proof . . . which substantiates its counsel's representation that the information requested does not exist. If, upon reviewing the Town's submission, Ms. Gericke is of the view that a genuine issue remains as to whether there are such items or that the Town's retrieval efforts were inadequate, she may file her own affidavits and evidence that contradict the Town's position. Her response shall be filed within ten (10) days of her receipt of the Town's filing. The court will treat the Town's answer to the Addendum as one for summary judgment on the issues raised by the Addendum.

Id. at 4. (document no. 17).

On December 2, 2010, the Town submitted an affidavit from its chief of police, Gregory Begin. He avers that while information from the devices should have been transferred to the police department's computer server, there were problems with the performance of the devices such that the transfer sometimes did not take place. Affidavit of Weare Police Chief Gregory Begin (document no. 18), ¶ 9. He says he examined the department's computer server and determined there is no recording of Gericke's "interactions with the police department on March 25, 2010." Id., ¶ 10. He also states that no routine maintenance was performed on the devices. When they were repaired, it was done under warranty with no documentation produced to the Town. Id. ¶¶ 6-7. Nor did the [3] Town keep usage records for the devices. Id., ¶ 8. Ms. Gericke did not file a response to the affidavit.


The affidavit adequately accounts for the absence of the information requested under RSA 91-A. Chief Begin testified from first hand knowledge that the server does not contain the recordings Ms. Gericke seeks, and he accounts for the omission of such recordings. He also explains the absence of maintenance and usage records for the devices.

Based on the foregoing, the petition for injunctive relief as supplemented by the Addendum is dismissed.


Date: December 20, 2010    /s/   

Brian T. Tucker

Presiding Justice