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July 19, 1999

Mr. Jay Garrett
City Attorney
City of Greenville
P.O. Box 1049
Greenville, Texas 75403-1049

OR99-2011

Dear Mr. Garrett:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 127538.

The City of Greenville Police Department (the "department") received a request for information about suspects in a criminal file. You claim that portions of the requested information are excepted from disclosure under sections 552.103 and 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.108 of the Government Code provides:

    (a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

      (1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime;

      (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; or

      (3) it is information that:

        (A) is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation;

        (B) reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state.

    (b) An internal record or notation of a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that is maintained for internal use in matters relating to law enforcement or prosecution is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

      (1) release of the internal record or notation would interfere with law enforcement or prosecution;

      (2) the internal record or notation relates to law enforcement only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication; or

      (3) the internal record or notation:

        (A) is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation;

        (B) reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state.

    (c) This section does not except from the requirements of Section 552.021 information that is basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime.

Gov't Code 552.108. Generally, a governmental body claiming an exception under section 552.108 must reasonably explain, if the information does not supply the explanation on its face, how and why the release of the requested information would interfere with law enforcement. See Gov't Code 552.108(a)(1), (b)(1), .301(b)(1); see also Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1977). You explain that the requested information concerns an instance that is currently being investigated. You state that the investigation is still open. Because you have shown that the release of the requested information would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime, we conclude that you may withhold the information you have marked under section 552.108(a)(1). 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); Open Records Decision No. 216 (1978).

We note, however, that information normally found on the front page of an offense report is generally considered public. 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. Gov't Code 552.108(c); see Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976) (summarizing the types of information deemed public by Houston Chronicle).

Because section 552.108 of the Government Code is dispositive, we need not address your section 552.103 claim. 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,

Sue M. Lee
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

SML\nc

Ref: ID# 127538

encl: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Christopher S. Martin
1794 Winding Lane
Greenville, Texas 75402
(w/o enclosures)


 

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