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April 30, 1999

Ms. Tenley A. Aldredge
Assistant County Attorney
Travis County
P.O. Box 1748
Austin, Texas 78767

OR99-1203

Dear Ms. Aldredge:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 124414.

The Travis County Sheriff (the "sheriff") received an open records request for "all reports and statements on Cause No. 340,852. The State of Texas v. Richard Middleton." You seek to withhold the requested information pursuant to, inter alia, section 552.108(a)(1) of the Government Code.

Section 552.108(a)(1) of the Government Code excepts from required public disclosure "[i]nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime . . . if . . . release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime[.]" You have informed us that the records at issue pertain to pending criminal prosecution. We therefore conclude that you have met your burden of establishing that the release of the requested information could interfere with law enforcement. The sheriff therefore may withhold most of the requested records at this time pursuant to section 552.108(a)(1).

Section 552.108 does not, however, except from required public disclosure "basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime." Gov't Code 552.108(c). Because you have raised no other exception to disclosure, the sheriff must release these types of information to the requestor in accordance with Houston Chronicle Publishing Company 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).(1)

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.

Sincerely,

Ruth H. Soucy
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

RHS/RWP/eaf

Ref.: ID# 124414

encl.: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Richard Middleton
P.O. Box 1822
Leander, Texas 78646
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. Because we resolve your request under section 552.108, we need not address the applicability of the other exceptions you raised, except to note that "front page offense report information" may not be withheld from the public pursuant to section 552.103. Open Records Decision No. 597 (1991).
 

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