|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
April 20, 1999
Mr. Saul Pedregon
Dear Mr. Pedregon:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 123566.
The Dallas Police Department (the "department") received a request for "all records pertaining to service # 76026G." You contend that the requested information is excepted from disclosure pursuant to sections 552.101 and 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and have reviewed the documents at issue.
The requested documents relate to a sexual assault case. You contend that the victim's identity and the details of the sexual assault are excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 in conjunction with the common-law right to privacy. In Open Records Decision No. 339 (1982), we concluded that the common-law right to privacy protects the identity of a sexual assault victim. However, in this case the victim elected to use a pseudonym and, therefore, the documents at issue do not identify her. Therefore, we conclude that the release of the documents would not implicate the victim's right to privacy.
Section 552.108(a) excepts from disclosure "[i]nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime . . . if: (1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime; [or] (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." You state that the requested documents relate to an ongoing criminal investigation. Based upon this representation, we conclude that the release of these documents 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).
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 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, 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. Although section 552.108(a)(1) authorizes you to withhold the remaining 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.
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.
Karen E. Hattaway
Ref: ID# 123566
encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Josh Bernstein
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US