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May 18, 1999

Ms. Janie L. Johnson
Assistant District Attorney
Office of the Gregg County District Attorney
101 East Methvin Street, Suite 333
Longview, Texas 75601

OR99-1361

Dear Ms. Johnson:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 124245.

The Justice of the Peace of Precinct 2 in Gregg County(the "JP") received a request for "case logs from September 1, 1998 to the present . . . . [A]ll tickets, fines, and associated plea or judgment records which were adjudicated or final verdicts entered regarding traffic, motor vehicle, or heavy truck equipment violations (including all autos) for the period September 1, 1998 to present." You claim that the requested documents are not subject to the Public Information Act because they are records of the judiciary. Alternatively, you contend that portions of the documents are excepted from disclosure under section 552.130. You state that you have released the requested case logs. You submitted a representative sample of the requested information to this office for review.(1)

We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

The Public Information Act does not apply to records of the judiciary. Gov't Code 552.003(B). Because these are records maintained by the court, you need not release them under the Public Information Act. Attorney General Opinion DM-166 (1992). As records of the judiciary, however, the information may be public by other sources of law. See Gov't Code 27.004(a) (papers filed in a case in justice court subject to inspection); Star-Telegram, Inc. v. Walker, 834 S.W.2d 54, 57 (Tex. 1992) (documents filed with courts are generally considered public and must be released); Tex. R. Jud. Admin. 12 (unless otherwise specified, judicial records are open to the general public for inspection and copying during regular business hours); Attorney General Opinions DM-166 at 2-3 (1992) (public has general right to inspect and copy judicial records); H-826 (1976); Open Records Decision No. 25 (1974) .

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,

Emilie F. Stewart
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

EFS\nc

Ref: ID# 124245

encl: Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Nancy Henderson
P.O. Box 9219
Longview, Texas 75608
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. In reaching our conclusion here, 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) (where requested documents are numerous and repetitive, governmental body should submit a representative sample; but if each record contains substantially different information, all must be submitted). 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.


 

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