Click for home page Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
John Cornyn
image
 

January 7, 1999

Mr. Richard Brown
Assistant City Attorney
Criminal Law and Police Division
City Hall
Dallas, Texas 75201

OR99-0018

Dear Mr. Brown:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act (the "act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 120945.

The City of Dallas Police Department (the "department") received a request for "complete records" concerning a specified individual and incident. In response to the request, you submit to this office for review a representative sample of the information at issue.(1) You indicate that certain "information compiled pursuant to this request and not subject of an ongoing investigation has been released." However, you assert that the remaining information is excepted from disclosure based on section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the representative sample of documents submitted.

Section 552.108, the "law enforcement exception," provides in relevant part as follows:

(a) [i]nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from the requirements of 552.021 if: (1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime. . . .

Generally, a governmental body claiming an exception under section 552.108 must reasonably explain, if the information does not supply the explanation on its face, how and why the release of the requested information would interfere with law enforcement. See Gov't Code 552.108(a)(1), (b)(1), .301(b)(1); see also Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1977).

You state that the requested information relates to an open record of prosecution. Because you have shown that release of the requested information would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime, we conclude that the requested information may be withheld under section 552.108(a)(1). See Houston Chronicle Publ'g Co. v. City of Houston, 531 S.W.2d 177 (Tex. Civ. App.--Houston [14th dist.] 1975), writ ref'd n.r.e. per curiam, 536 S.W.2d 559 (Tex. 1976) (court delineates law enforcement interests that are present in active cases).

However, we note that "basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime" is not excepted from required public disclosure. Gov't Code 552.108(c). Basic information is the type of information that is considered to be front page offense report information even if this information is not actually located on the front page of the offense report. See generally Houston Chronicle Publ'g Co. v. City of Houston, 531 S.W.2d 177 (Tex. Civ. App.--Houston [14th dist.] 1975), writ ref'd n.r.e. per curiam, 536 S.W.2d 559 (Tex. 1976); Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). Thus, except for basic information, the remaining requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108(a)(1).(2)

We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Yours very truly,

Sam Haddad

Assistant Attorney General

Open Records Division

SH/nc

Ref.: ID# 120945

cc: Ms. Marvis Doughty

1411 Sunny Glen Drive

Dallas, Texas 75232

(w/o enclosures)

1. We assume that the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of the requested records as a whole. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988), 497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach, and therefore does not authorize the withholding of, any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than that submitted to this office.

2. Although section 552.108 authorizes you to withhold the remaining requested information from disclosure, you may choose to release all or part of the information at issue that is not otherwise confidential by law. See Gov't Code 552.007.


 

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
An Equal Employment Opportunity Employer


Home | ORLs