March 19, 1997
Mr. Joseph Sorce, Jr.
Green Haven Correctional Facility
Stormville, NY 12582-0010
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence.
Dear Mr. Sorce:
I have received your letter of February 26 and the materials attached to it.
As I understand the matter, having requested a certain record from the Nassau County Police Department, you were informed that the record had been microfilmed and that the original record had been destroyed. You have questioned the legality of the destruction of the original record.
In this regard, I direct your attention to §57.29 of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, which states that:
"Any local officer may reproduce any record in his custody by microphotography or other means that accurately and completely reproduces all the information in the record. Such official may then dispose of the original record even though it has not met the prescribed minimum legal retention period, provided that the process for reproduction and the provisions made for preserving and examining the copy meet requirements established by the commissioner of education. Such copy shall be deemed to be an original record for all purposes, including introduction as evidence in proceedings before all courts and administrative agencies."
Based on the foregoing, it appears that the disposal of the original record after it was microfilmed was consistent with law.
If you remain interested in obtaining a copy of a retention schedule, you may write to the State Archives and Records Administration, Cultural Education Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12230.
I hope that the foregoing serves to clarify your understanding of the matter and that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman
cc: Richard Baribault
Thomas J. King