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June 1, 1999

Mr. Miles K. Risley
Senior Assistant City Attorney
Legal Department
City of Victoria
P.O. Box 1758
Victoria, Texas 77902-1758

OR99-1504

Dear Mr. Risley:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 126399.

The City of Victoria (the "city") received a request for a certain person's criminal record. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101, 552.103, and 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted documents.

Initially, we note that the submitted records include an autopsy report. Autopsy reports prepared by a medical examiner are expressly made public by the Code of Criminal Procedure. Code Crim. Proc. art. 49.25, 11. Therefore, you must release the autopsy report to the requestor.

Section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Where an individual's criminal history information has been compiled by a governmental entity, the information takes on a character that implicates the individual's right to privacy. See United States Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989). In this instance, the requestor asks for the criminal records of a named individual. In this case, we believe that this individual's right to privacy has been implicated. Thus, to the extent that the city has records in which the named individual is a possible suspect, we conclude that the city must withhold this information under section 552.101 of the Government Code. See id.; see also Gov't Code 411.106(b).

As we have resolved the matter under section 552.101, we need not address your other arguments against public disclosure. 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,

Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

YHL/nc

Ref.: ID# 126399

encl: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Jason Hernandez
Law Offices of Bernard Klimist
204 E. Santa Rosa
Victoria, Texas 77901
(w/o enclosures)


 

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