Part of a public library containing court papers related to lawsuits involving Scientology in some way. Collected to help lawyers and critics of Scientology in future lawsuits from or against this cult. Please report back if this has been of help, or send new contributions to the collection. Thanks. Andreas Heldal-Lund (heldal@online.no)

          The CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF NEW YORK, Petitioner-Respondent,
     The STATE of New York et al., etc., Respondents-Appellants (two cases).
              Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department.
                                 March 23, 1978.
  Proceedings were instituted to obtain access to all files of the Commissioner
 of Mental Hygiene and the Attorney General concerning petitioner corporation,
 its affiliates and its leadership.  The Supreme Court, New York County, Arnold
 L. Fein and Hyman Korn, JJ., granted the application with limitations, and the
 State appealed.  The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, held,
 inter alia, that the trial court's order adequately protected against
 inappropriate identification of confidential sources.
  Lupiano, J., dissented and filed opinion.

 In proceedings by corporation to require Commissioner of Mental Hygiene and
 Attorney General to grant access to all files concerning petitioner and its
 affiliates and leadership, trial court's judgment granting such access
 adequately protected against inappropriate identification of confidential
 sources when it required deletions of names of third parties and names and
 addresses of third parties who had written letters to state officers
 complaining of petitioner.  Public Officers Law ss 84 et seq., 87.

 Where, although Attorney General had commenced investigation of church based on
 letters of complaint received by it, such investigation resulted in no further
 action and there existed no present intention to commence any such further
 action, official records relating to church were not exempt from disclosure
 under New York Freedom of Information Act as being documents compiled for law
 enforcement purposes.  Public Officers Law s 87.
  **225 D. G. Lubell, New York City, for petitioner-respondent.
  R. S. Hammer, New York City, for respondents-appellants.

  Judgments, Supreme Court, New York County, entered on May 26, 1977 and August
 29, 1977, respectively, in which petitioner's application pursuant to Public
 Officers Law Sections 85-88 for records pertaining to petitioner were granted
 with limitations requiring deletions of the names of third parties (Judgment of
 May 26, 1977) and the names and addresses of third parties in complaint
 letters (Judgment of August 29, 1977) affirmed, without costs and without
  Following applications to the respondents pursuant to the Public Officers Law
 Sections 85-88 ("Freedom of Information Law"), resulting in making available
 some records, but the withholding of most, petitioner commenced these
 proceedings, seeking a judgment directing respondents to make available to them
 the requested records and documents.  The two petitions, one addressed to the
 Department of Mental Hygiene, and the second to the Attorney General, resulted
 in judgments directing the respective respondents to make available to
 petitioner for inspection and copying the records sought, subject to the
 limitation in the judgment concerning the Department of Mental Hygiene that the
 names of third parties be deleted, and the limitation in the judgment relating
 to the Attorney General that the names and addresses of informers who wrote
 letters of complaint be deleted.  The affidavits before the court sharply
 limited the issues presented in the pleadings.
  Whatever questions may be thought to have been raised by these determinations
 at Special Term have been substantially eliminated by the enactment of a new
 Article 6, Public Officers Law, effective January 1, 1978 (L.1977, Ch. 933, s
 1) and now controlling, which substantially extends the obligation of
 government agencies to make available their records and files.  So far as is
 now relevant, the only issues remaining are raised by the Attorney General and
 involve *943 interpretation of the following pertinent portions of Section
 87, Public Officers Law:
   "Section 87.  Access to agency records
   2. Each agency shall, in accordance with its published rules, make available
 for public inspection and copying all records, except that such agency may deny
 access to records or portions thereof that:
   (e) are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:
   i. interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial
 proceedings; * * *
   **226 iii. identify a confidential source or disclose confidential
 information relating to a criminal investigation; * * * "
  [1] We are satisfied that the provisions of the judgment below adequately
 protect against the inappropriate identification of "a confidential source."
 This seems particularly clear since, as was developed on oral argument, the
 sources in question are the authors of confidential letters of complaint and it
 was the practice of the Attorney General on an on-going basis to communicate
 with petitioner with regard to such complaints.  It is difficult in this
 context to believe that more is necessary to protect the identity of such
 people than the deletion of their names and addresses, already required in the
 judgment appealed from.  The alternatives suggested would effectively undermine
 the disclosure purposes of the statutory sections.  Nor were any specifics
 presented either in the moving papers or on oral argument that support the
 conclusion that an in camera inspection of the individual papers would be
 helpful on this issue.
  [2] As to the further claim that some of the documents sought were compiled
 for law enforcement purposes, and if disclosed would interfere with law
 enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings, it is apparent from the
 facts submitted that the letters of complaint have already been responded to,
 have been the subject of inquiry, have resulted in no further action, and that
 there presently exists no intention to commence any further action with regard
 to them.  What we are left with is the wholly speculative proposition that
 something may yet turn up, although it has not yet done so in the many years of
 the petitioner's existence, that will require some unspecified law enforcement
 action, to which these earlier letters may be relevant and that somehow will be
 impaired by disclosure.
  More than that is surely required to invoke the exception claimed by the
 respondents.  Neither the papers submitted on behalf of the respondents, nor
 the responses to specific inquiries in connection with this area on oral
 argument, provide a colorable factual basis for the view that an in camera
 inspection would serve any worthwhile purpose.  No such inspection, it should
 be noted, was suggested by the respondents in the various papers submitted by
  Needless to say, we do not doubt, as urged in the thoughtful dissenting
 opinion, that there may well be appropriate situations in which in camera
 inspection would serve the useful purpose of balancing the rights of private
 citizens and organizations with the legitimate needs of government agencies.

  All concur except LUPIANO, J., who dissents in a memorandum as follows:

  LUPIANO, Justice (dissenting):
  Petitioner, The Church of Scientology of New York (L. Ron Hubbard, founder),
 instituted these Article 78 proceedings to obtain access to all the files of
 the Commissioner of Mental Hygiene and the Attorney General, respondents
 herein, concerning the petitioner corporation, its affiliates and its
 leadership.[FN*]  Respondents gave petitioner access to non-confidential
 files.  *944 Further disclosure was denied by the Attorney General on the
 ground that the records either do not come within the description of Public
 Officers Law s 88(1), or are part of the Attorney General's investigative
 files, or that their disclosure would invade the privacy of the Attorney
 General's informants (Public Officers Law s 88(7)(c)(d)).  Similarly, the
 Commissioner of Mental Hygiene denied petitioner access as to internal
 memoranda and as to those records which had been furnished to him by the
 Attorney General for the same reasons urged by the Attorney General.

      FN* Petitioner's letter of protest addressed to the Attorney General,
     dated October 29, 1975, appeals the refusal of the latter to disclose "all
     records on Scientology Churches and Missions, L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics, et
     al."  The subject matter of Dianetics and the subject matter with which the
     Scientology Churches concern themselves are embraceable within that sphere
     of human experience termed Mental Hygiene.

  **227 In the proceeding against the Attorney General, Special Term, granted
 the application "in the absence of sufficient information concerning the
 documents to sustain respondent's refusal to disclose for the reasons stated.
 Insofar as the documents sought to be disclosed are complaint letters addressed
 to the respondent, disclosure of the contents of said letters is granted but
 the names and addresses of the informers shall be excluded from such
 disclosure."  In opposing the application, the Attorney General declared:
   "Heretofore, the Attorney General commenced an investigation into the affairs
 of The Church of Scientology, its leadership and related organizations
 following the receipt of a number of complaints from members of the public.  It
 should be emphasized that the Attorney General has no interest in the religious
 or philosophical beliefs of the petitioner or any other body, regardless of how
 novel or unconventional they may be.  However, the law imposes upon the
 Attorney General a duty to investigate and prosecute frauds committed in
 connection with receipt of funds and fund raising for ostensibly religious and
 charitable purposes.  The investigation was confined to allegations of such
 fraudulent activity.  Although the investigation did not disclose evidence
 sufficient to warrant the commencement of criminal proceedings, additional
 complaints are received from time to time and the file remains open.  The
 letters of complaints are subject to the common law informers privilege.
 Similarly the investigative file is privileged, both at common law and under
 the Freedom of Information Law.  Disclosure of these records could result in an
 unwarranted invasion of the privacy of these informants.  Although respondents
 have made available to petitioner its non-confidential files, their privileged
 records must be protected.  The mischief that would be caused by wholesale
 disclosure of informants' complaints or investigative files as sought by
 petitioner would be highly prejudicial to law enforcement and governmental
 administration; something the Freedom of Information Law was never intended to
 cause" (Emphasis supplied).
  The Freedom of Information Law adopted by New York State effective September
 1, 1974, is designed to make available to the public documents generated by and
 in the possession of government unless a compelling reason requires their
 confidentiality.  Concern was expressed in the statute regarding the rights of
 those identified by government documents which might be subject to disclosure.
 The law authorizes the Committee on Access to Public Documents to spell out
 rules to be used in preventing the disclosure of information in violation of a
 person's right of privacy.  As set forth in Public Officers Law s 89(2)(a),
   "The committee on public access to records may promulgate guidelines
 regarding deletion of identifying details or withholding of records otherwise
 available under this article to prevent unwarranted invasions of personal
 privacy.  In the absence of such guidelines, an agency may delete identifying
 details when it makes records available" (Emphasis supplied).
  A further limitation on access to information is set forth in Public Officers
 Law s 87(2), which declares:
   "Each agency shall . . .  make available for public inspection and copying
 all records, except that such agency *945 may deny access to records or
 portions thereof that: . . .  (b) if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted
 invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of subdivision two of section
 eighty-nine of this article; . . .  (e) are compiled for law enforcement
 purposes and which, if disclosed, would: i. interfere with law enforcement
 investigations . . .  iii. identify a confidential source or disclose
 confidential information relating to a criminal investigation; or iv. reveal
 criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and
 procedures; (f) if disclosed would endanger the life or safety of any person;
 (g) are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not: i. statistical or
 factual **228 tabulations or data; ii. instructions to staff that affect the
 public; or iii. final agency policy or determinations . . .."
  It is pointed out by the Attorney General that although at present a criminal
 prosecution is not warranted, petitioner remains under active scrutiny and
 complaints continue to be received by the Attorney General.  As a consequence
 of evidence that may be gathered in the future, argues the Attorney General,
 items currently in the files may assume vital importance.  In essence, the
 issue is framed as to whether the investigative file is completed and closed,
 in effect, a "dead" file, or whether it is an open, viable file, albeit a
 dormant one which, if subject to disclosure, would result in interference with
 the law enforcement investigative function of the Attorney General's Office.
 In this connection, it must be noted that petitioner in seeking access to the
 Attorney General's records implicitly recognizes the exemptions to such access
 delineated in the Public Officers Law.  Petitioner in paragraph "14" of the
 petition states:
   "The conduct of Respondents, insofar as the records withheld by Respondents
 do not constitute files 'compiled for law enforcement purposes' constitutes a
 violation of The Freedom of Information Law."
  Recognition of the spirit and intent of the Freedom of Information Law and the
 recognized caveat that the statute is to be liberally interpreted to achieve
 its goal, does not mandate judicial legislation weakening the status of
 countervailing considerations and rights which prompted the limitations on
 access to information specifically enacted by the legislature in its wisdom.
 In this regard note is taken of the general observation in a pre-Freedom of
 Information Law case that
   "Public interest is a flexible term and what constitutes sufficient potential
 harm to the public interest so as to render the privilege (of confidentiality
 attaching to official information in the hands of governmental agencies)
 operable must of necessity be determined on the facts of each case.  Such a
 determination is a judicial one and requires that the governmental agency come
 forward and show that the public interest would indeed be jeopardized by a
 disclosure of the information.  Otherwise, the privilege could be easily
 abused, serving as a cloak for official misconduct.  . . .  Of course, in some
 situations it may be difficult to determine if the assertion of the privilege
 is warranted without forcing a disclosure of the very thing sought to be
 withheld.  In such situations, it would seem proper that the material requested
 be examined by the court in camera" (Cirale v. 80 Pine St. Corp., 35 N.Y.2d
 113, 118-119, 359 N.Y.S.2d 1, 5, 316 N.E.2d 301, 304 (1974)).
  The public policy benefit in not discouraging private citizens from making
 complaint or informing as to observed criminal activity to the proper
 authorities is self-evident.  On numerous occasions, the courts have commented
 upon the duties of citizenship and the responsibilities attendant thereon.  As
 an example, the Court of Appeals stated in People v. Hicks, 38 N.Y.2d 90,
 94, 378 N.Y.S.2d 660, 664, 341 N.E.2d 227, 230 (1975):
   "The average citizen who provides the authorities with information as to
 observed criminal activity does so with no expectation of private gain.
 Rather, he aids the police in enforcing the laws in order to promote the safety
 and order of the society as a whole.  . . . "
  While mindful of the reality of *946 the public's right to know insofar as
 this right has found utterance in the Freedom of Information Law, the concern
 expressed for protecting the legitimacy of the right to privacy and the state's
 compelling interest in maintaining the integrity of investigatory files and of
 criminal justice files, mandates under the circumstances herein an in camera
 inspection by the court so that an informed determination can be made as to
 whether the records sought by petitioner pertain to law enforcement purposes,
 the disclosure of which would interfere with law enforcement investigation.  We
 must **229 be mindful that the expansion of one right in this case the
 public's right to know under the Freedom of Information Law might well toll the
 confinement of other rights, for example, the right of privacy, in the delicate
 balancing of private as compared or contrasted with public issues and/or
  It is, therefore, concluded that Special Term regarding the right of privacy
 limitation erred in limiting deletion of merely the names and addresses of the
 informers and complainants from complaint letters in the documents sought to be
 disclosed.  In accordance with the Freedom of Information Law all identifying
 details necessary to prevent unwarranted invasion of personal privacy should be
 deleted from any information sought to be disclosed and such deletion should
 not be merely limited to complaint letters.  Further, insofar as the records
 sought to be disclosed are compiled for law enforcement purposes, the
 disclosure of which would interfere with law enforcement investigation, an in
 camera inspection of the records is in order to protect the legitimate interest
 of the public in safeguarding the integrity of the investigative process.  The
 disclosure by the Attorney General of "sufficient information concerning the
 documents to sustain (the Attorney General's) refusal to disclose for the
 reasons stated," may well compromise the integrity of the investigative
 process.  It was incumbent upon Special Term to make an "in camera" inspection
 so that its determination would be an informed one.  Common sense and reason
 dictate that such in camera inspection would best comport with protecting the
 competing interests and rights under the Freedom of Information Law.
  Regarding the Article 78 proceeding against the Commissioner of Mental
 Hygiene, Special Term, granted the application.  In rendering its
 determination, Special Term pertinently observed that the Commissioner refused
 to divulge "material received from the Attorney General with instructions to
 retain confidentiality, internal working memoranda of a confidential nature,
 and communications received from third parties, some of whom are alleged to
 have been representatives of the petitioner."  The basis enunciated by Special
 Term for permitting access to this material was the Commissioner's admission
 that he is not conducting any activity with respect to petitioner and maintains
 no records with respect to petitioner.  Concluding that there was no "real and
 active ongoing investigation," Special Term declared that there was no
 justification for withholding the information provided the identity of third
 parties was protected.
  The observations delineated above in respect of the proceeding involving the
 Attorney General apply equally to this proceeding.  The Freedom of Information
 Law as originally enacted was recently reported and replaced by a (New) Freedom
 of Information Law, effective January 1, 1978 (L.1977, c. 933).  The sponsor of
 this law stated in the memorandum in support of the new act that it
   "(m)andates that all records be open except: . . .  2. those records which
 would be an invasion of privacy . . .  5. law enforcement
 investigations . . ..  In camera inspection of records together with the
 possible assessment of attorneys fees are existing powers given the courts
 which are contained in this legislation . . ..  The main purpose of these
 amendments are to clarify, streamline and better *947 effectuate the
 original intent of this legislation.  Basically, this legislation will conform
 New York State's version of Freedom of Information to the Federal law."
  The federal statute which is analogous to New York's Freedom of Information
 Law and to which New York's version conforms specifically provides for in
 camera inspection "On complaint, the district court of the United States . . .
 has jurisdiction to enjoin the agency from withholding agency records and to
 order the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the
 complainant.  In such a case the court shall determine the matter de novo, and
 may examine the contents of such agency records in camera to determine whether
 such records or any part thereof **230 shall be withheld under any of the
 exemptions set forth in subsection (b) of this section, and the burden is on
 the agency to sustain its action" (5 U.S.C.A. s 552(a)(4)(B)).  Exempt
 material under the federal statute is, insofar as relevant to this matter,
 phrased in similar language to New York's statute
   "This section does not apply to matters that are . . .  (7) investigatory
 records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the
 production of such records would (A) interfere with enforcement
 proceedings, . . .  (C) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal
 privacy, (D) disclose the identity of a confidential source . . . ."  (5
 U.S.C.A. s 552(b)(7)).
  Enlightenment may thus be obtained from a review of relevant federal cases.
 Initially the request for disclosure should specify identifiable records, i.
 e., it should contain a reasonable description of the requested records and not
 be vague (See, Bristol-Myers Company v. F. T. C., 138 U.S.App.D.C. 22, 424
 F.2d 935 (1970)).  The mere fact that an investigatory file is dormant, does
 not of itself indicate that it is not related to a viable on-going
 investigation and does not remove the file from the exemption provided in the
 statute.  In Frankel v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the district court
 held that the exemption from disclosure pertaining to an investigatory file no
 longer applied where the file was not one "compiled for (current) law
 enforcement purposes."  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals noted that
   "(t)he statute on its face does not limit the 'investigatory files' exemption
 to files that the agency is currently using or is planning to use in a law
 enforcement proceeding.  . . .  The broad legislative intent behind the
 enactment of the Freedom of Information Act, as disclosed by the Report of the
 Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Report of the House Committee on
 Government Operations, was to give the electorate greater access to information
 concerning the operations of the federal government.  The ultimate purpose was
 to enable the public to have sufficient information in order to be able,
 through the electoral process, to make intelligent, informed choices with
 respect to the nature, scope, and procedure of federal governmental
 activities.  . . .  The House Report . . .  states: 'It is vital to our way of
 life to reach a workable balance between the right of the public to know and
 the need of the Government to keep information in confidence to the extent
 necessary without permitting indiscriminate secrecy.  The right of the
 individual to be able to find out how his Government is operating can be just
 as important to him as his right to privacy and his right to confide in his
 Government.  This bill strikes a balance considering all these
 interests'.  . . .  (The Senate and House) Reports indicate that Congress had a
 two-fold purpose in enacting the exemption for investigatory files: to prevent
 the premature disclosure of the results of an investigation so that the
 Government can present its strongest case in court, and to keep confidential
 the procedures by which the agency conducted its investigation and by which it
 has obtained information.  Both these forms of confidentiality are necessary
 for effective law *948 enforcement.  The conclusion that the . . .
 exemption from disclosure applies even after an investigation and an
 enforcement proceeding have been terminated is supported both by the authority
 of the cases decided under the Act and by consideration of the policies
 underlying the Act in general and the investigatory files exemption in
 particular.  In Evans v. Department of Transportation, 446 F.2d 821, 824
 (5th Cir.) . . .  the court said: 'We are of the further opinion that Congress
 could not possibly have intended that such (matter) should be disclosed once an
 investigation is completed.  If this were so, and disclosure were made, it
 would soon become a matter of common knowledge with the result that few
 individuals, if any, would come forth to embroil themselves in controversy or
 possible recrimination by notifying the (agency) **231 of something which
 might justify investigation '.  . . .  If an agency's investigatory files were
 obtainable without limitation after the investigation was concluded, future law
 enforcement efforts by the agency could be seriously hindered.  . . .  The
 possibility of such disclosure would tend severely to limit the agencies'
 possibilities for investigation and enforcement of the law since these agencies
 rely, to a large extent, on voluntary cooperation and on information from
 informants.  In the present case disclosure would have but small effect with
 respect to the general purposes of the Act, the better informing of the
 electorate as to the operations of government.  On the contrary it would defeat
 important purposes of the exemption for investigatory files'' (Frankel v.
 Securities and Exchange Commission, 460 F.2d 813, 815-818 (2nd Cir. 1972))
 (Emphasis supplied).
  The critical fact as to a dormant investigative file determinative of whether
 the exemption provision applies is whether such file remains viable as an aid
 in a contemplated prospective proceeding (See, Bristol-Myers v. F. T. C.,
 supra; Chamberlain v. Alexander, 419 F.Supp. 235 (S.D.Ala.1976); cf.
 Weisberg v. U. S. Dept. of Justice, 160 U.S.App.D.C. 71, 489 F.2d 1195
 (1973), cert. denied, 416 U.S. 993, 94 S.Ct. 2405, 40 L.Ed.2d 772 (1974);
 543 F.2d 308 (D.C. Cir. 1976)).  Accordingly, it is necessary for the court
 where appropriate to apply the balancing test delineated in the federal cases,
 coupled when necessary with in camera inspection of the records sought in order
 to determine whether the exemption is properly invoked.  The focus is on " 'how
 and under what circumstances the files were compiled . . . .' " (Aspin v.
 Department of Defense, 160 U.S.App.D.C. 231, 491 F.2d 24 (1973)).
  To reiterate: petitioner seeks access to all records in the possession of
 respondents without any limitation or degree of specificity other than that the
 records relate to petitioner, its innumerable affiliates and its leadership.
 There has been a disclosure by respondents of information not considered by
 them of a confidential investigative nature.  Accordingly, inference supports
 an initial reflection that respondents are acting in good faith.  Exemption is
 claimed for letters of complaint received by the Attorney General and related
 matters of an investigatory nature relevant to the Attorney General's duty to
 investigate and prosecute certain fraudulent activity.  The Attorney General
 turned over to the Commission of Mental Hygiene certain records which are
 claimed to be confidential and related to an investigation of certain
 allegations of fraudulent activity.  It is specifically stated that the
 Attorney General's file "remains open."  The mere fact that such information
 has been imparted by one agency to another does not of itself remove the
 exemption, if it is otherwise operable, particularly where the information is
 turned over under a request that its confidential status be respected.  The
 mere fact that the agency to which the records are turned over is itself not
 pursuing an investigatory process respecting such records does not deprive
 those records of the exemption if otherwise applicable.  Indeed, Public
 Officers Law s 87(2)(g) provides a specific exemption for "inter-agency or
 intra-agency materials which are *949 not: i. statistical or factual
 tabulations or data; ii. instructions to staff that affect the public; or iii.
 final agency policy or determinations."  As to materials in the files of the
 Department of Mental Hygiene which have not been disclosed and which are not
 records and papers of the Attorney General, it is urged that the above
 exemption controls, i. e., that these materials are all inter- or intra-agency
 memoranda not otherwise subject to disclosure.
   "It should be observed that the Federal statutes relating to freedom of
 access to governmental information are not based upon a fundamental finding
 that the public should have unimpaired access to records" (Matter of Dunlea
 v. Goldmark, 54 A.D.2d 446, 449, 389 N.Y.S.2d 423, 425 (3rd Dept. 1976)).
  In the post-Watergate milieu the understandable zeal to interpret as liberally
 as possible the Freedom of Information Act **232 cannot justify a myopic or
 one-sided approach which would serve to frustrate the balancing test patently
 envisioned by the statutory enactment.  Both Congress in enacting the Federal
 Freedom of Information Law and the state legislature of New York in enacting
 the State's Freedom of Information Law were mindful of the salutary observation
 not to cure the patient by killing him.  The nature of the right of privacy
 which may well be the most threatened right of our present age, the competing
 consideration of the public's right to know what government is doing in order
 through the electoral process and otherwise to make informed choices with
 respect to the value, scope and procedure of governmental activities and the
 competing consideration of safeguarding effective law enforcement all warrant,
 indeed mandate, a reflective, cautious, albeit liberal approach in applying the
 Freedom of Information Law.  We must be careful not to abuse rights or reject
 countervailing duties in invoking the Freedom of Information Law.  Eternal
 vigilance is the price of liberty and vigilance in applying the law is not
  Respondents clearly oppose what they perceive as an unbridled, unlimited raid
 on their confidential files and records and invoke the protection of the
 Freedom of Information Law, the very law relied upon by petitioner to justify
 access to such files and records.  We assume "(t)here is no evidence in this
 record, other than the conclusory affidavit of the respondents, to confirm
 these claims of exemptions.  It has been held under the Federal statute that
 conclusory affidavits claiming a right to an exemption will not alone defeat a
 request for disclosure (see Environmental Protection Agency v. Mink, 410
 U.S. 73, 93, 93 S.Ct. 827, 35 L.Ed.2d 119, Vaughn v. Rosen (157 U.S.App.D.C.
 340, 484 F.2d 820, cert. den. 415 U.S. 977, 94 S.Ct. 1564, 39 L.Ed.2d
 873)).  A New York court, while recognizing that investigatory files must
 remain confidential, went on to state:
   (B)ut that does not mean that a general statement . . .  that records are
 confidential or part of an investigatory file . . .  must result in
 dismissal . . . .  (I)t would frustrate the intent and policy of the Freedom of
 Information Law to permit a public official to determine according to his own
 judgment what is, or is not, confidential and to withhold disclosure
 accordingly (Matter of Dillon v. Cahn, 79 Misc.2d 300, 303, 359 N.Y.S.2d
 981, 984, citing United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 94 S.Ct. 3090, 41
 L.Ed.2d 1039).  In the instant case the minutes sought by the petitioners have
 not been reviewed in camera and there are no detailed affidavits or other
 exhibits that would show the type of information generally contained in these
 minutes.  While an agency should be accorded an opportunity to prove by means
 other than an in camera inspection that they are entitled to an exemption, if
 they fail to provide such detailed information an in camera inspection of the
 documents sought should be performed (Vaughn v. Rosen, supra; see, Cirale
 v. 80 Pine St. Corp., 35 N.Y.2d (113) p. 119, 359 N.Y.S.2d (1) p. 5, 316
 N.E.2d (301) p. 304, supra; Matter of Dillon v. Cahn, supra )
 " (Zuckerman v. Bd. of Parole, 53 A.D.2d 405, 408, 385 N.Y.S.2d 811, 813
 (3rd Dept. 1976)).
  Accordingly, the judgments of the Supreme Court, New York County entered May
 6, 1977 and entered August 29, *950 1977, granting petitioner's application
 for access to records under the Freedom of Information Law should be reversed,
 on the law and the facts, without costs, and the proceedings remanded to the
 Supreme Court for an in camera inspection of the requested documents and for
 further proceedings not inconsistent herewith.

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