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July 9, 1999

Ms. Lilia Ledesma-Gonzalez
Assistant City Attorney
City of McAllen
P.O. Box 220
McAllen, Texas 78505-0220

OR99-1930

Dear Ms. Ledesma-Gonzalez:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 125795.

The McAllen Police Department (the "department") received a request for eight offense reports. You assert that offense report numbers 99-009626 and 96-040589 are excepted from disclosure under section 552.108 of the Government Code and section 51.14 of the Family Code. You have not submitted the other requested six offense reports; therefore, we assume that you have released them to the requestor. Gov't Code 552.301; but see Gov't Code 552.352 (distribution of confidential information may constitute criminal offense). We have considered the exceptions you claim and have reviewed the two offense reports submitted.

First, you assert that section 552.108(a)(1) excepts offense report number 99-009626 from public disclosure. Section 552.108(a)(1) excepts from public disclosure information 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 assert that the case is ongoing, and the information you submit shows that the case is pending with a municipal court. We therefore believe that the release of the information "would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Gov't Code 552.108(a)(1).

However, section 552.108 is inapplicable to basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime. Gov't Code 552.108(c). We believe such basic information refers to the information held to be public in 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). Thus, with the exception of the basic front page offense and arrest information, you may withhold the requested offense report number 99-009626 from disclosure based on section 552.108(a)(1). We note that you have the discretion to release all or part of the remaining information in offense report number 99-009626 that is not otherwise confidential by law. Gov't Code 552.007.

Next, you contend that offense report number 96-04589 is made confidential by section 51.14(d) of the Family Code. Section 552.101 of the Government Code protects "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 552.101 encompasses confidentiality provisions in the Family Code. Sections 51.14(d) and 58.007 of the Family Code make confidential juvenile law enforcement records relating to delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision. Offense report number 96-04589 does not involve records of a juvenile engaging in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision. Therefore, neither section 51.14(d) nor 58.007 applies to offense report number 96-04589. You must release offense report number 96-04589.

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,

Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

YHL/ch

Ref: ID# 125795

Encl.: Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Anel Guadalupe Garza
3005 Highland, Apt 4
McAllen, Texas 78501
(w/o enclosures)


 

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