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February 19, 1999

Ms. Joni M. Vollman
Assistant General Counsel
Harris County District Attorney
201 Fannin, Suite 200
Houston, Texas 77002-1901

OR99-0508

Dear Ms. Vollman:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 122257.

The Harris County District Attorney (the "district attorney") received a request for specific offense reports. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with certain provisions of the Family Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 261.201(a) of the Family Code provides as follows:

(a) The following information is confidential, is not subject to public release under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may be disclosed only for purposes consistent with this code and applicable federal or state law or under rules adopted by an investigating agency:

(1) a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect made under this chapter and the identity of the person making the report; and

(2) except as otherwise provided in this section, the files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under this chapter or in providing services as a result of an investigation.

Because the requested information relates to an allegation of child abuse, the information is within the scope of section 261.201 of the Family Code. We are not aware of any rules promulgated by the district attorney which permit the dissemination of this type of information. Accordingly, the requested information is made confidential by section 261.201 of the Family Code and must be withheld from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code.

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 on as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have any questions regarding this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

June B. Harden
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

JBH/ch

Ref.: ID# 122257

Enclosures: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Rick Brass
Isbell & Brass
Old Cotton Exchange Building
202 Travis, Suite 208
Houston, Texas 77002
(w/o enclosures)


 

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