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August 13, 1999

Mr. Duncan R. Fox
Assistant Chief
Legal Services
Texas Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, Texas 78773-0001

OR99-2312

Dear Mr. Fox:

You have asked whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 126462.

The Department of Public Safety (the "department") received a request for "the report by the Texas Rangers of the investigation of the November 1998 escape from Death Row." You assert that the requested information is excepted from disclosure based on section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered your claimed exception and reviewed the submitted representative sample of documents.(1)

Section 552.108 of the Government Code states in part as follows:

(a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from [required public disclosure] if

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

(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[.]

(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 [required public disclosure] if:

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

(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[.]

Gov't Code 552.108(a), (b). You assert that release of the requested information would interfere with internal security practices and procedures and endanger the lives of employees. You further inform us that the requested information pertains to a pending criminal investigation. We therefore conclude that you may withhold the requested information under section 552.108.

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 information, you may withhold the requested information from disclosure based on section 552.108. We note that you have the discretion to release all or part of the remaining information that is not otherwise confidential by law. Gov't Code 552.007.

We are resolving this matter with this 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 may 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/nc

Ref.: ID# 126462

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Lucius Lomax
P.O. Box 547
Austin, Texas 78767
(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). 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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