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March 22, 1999

Ms. Barbara G. Heptig
Assistant City Attorney
City of Arlington
P.O. Box 1065
Arlington, Texas 76004-1065

OR99-0795

Dear Ms. Heptig:

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# 122896.

The City of Arlington received a request for four offense reports relating to assault cases. You contend that the offense reports are excepted from disclosure pursuant to section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the documents at issue.

Section 552.108 of the Government Code provides:

(a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if: (1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime; (2) it is information that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication; or (3) it is information that: (A) is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation; or (B) reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state.

(b) An internal record or notation of a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that is maintained for internal use in matters relating to law enforcement or prosecution is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if: (1) release of the internal record or notation would interfere with law enforcement or prosecution; (2) the internal record or notation relates to law enforcement only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication; or (3) the internal record or notation: (A) is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation; or (B) reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state.

(c) This section does not except from the requirements of Section 552.021 information that is basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime.

You have demonstrated that releasing the offense reports labeled exhibits B and C would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime. 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); see also Open Records Decision Nos. 397 (1983), 329 (1982) (names and statements of witnesses may be protected if disclosure would subject witnesses to harassment or harm prospects of future cooperation with law enforcement officers). We note, however, that information normally found on the front page of an offense report is generally considered public. See generally Gov't Code 552.108(c); Houston Chronicle, 531 S.W.2d 177; Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). Thus, you must release 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. Section 552.108(a)(1) authorizes you to withhold the remaining information in exhibits B and C from disclosure. You have not established the applicability of section 552.108 to the offense reports labeled exhibits D and E. Therefore, we conclude that you must release exhibits D and E to the requestor.

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 any questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

Karen E. Hattaway
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

KEH/ch

Ref: ID# 122896

Enclosures: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Gavin Saldivar
2775 N. Highway 360, #1122
Grand Prairie, Texas 75050
(w/o enclosures)


 

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