|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
October 22, 1999
Ms. Lillian Guillen Graham
Dear Ms. Graham:
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# 129694.
The Mesquite Police Department (the "MPD") received a request for the call sheet with narrative to Incident Number 9109515 dated August 31, 1999. 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 information.
You state that the information responsive to this request may be excepted from disclosure because it involves a record of family violence and, specifically, suspected abuse of a child. Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 552.101 encompasses confidentiality statutes such as section 261.201 of the Family Code.
Section 261.201(a) provides as follows:
(a) The following information is confidential, is not subject to public release under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may be disclosed only for purposes consistent with this code and applicable federal or state law or under rules adopted by an investigating agency:
(1) a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect made under this chapter and the identity of the person making the report; and
(2) except as otherwise provided in this section, the files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under this chapter or in providing services as a result of an investigation.
Because the requested documents relate to an allegation of child abuse, the documents are within the scope of section 261.201 of the Family Code. You have not indicated that the department has adopted a rule that governs the release of this type of information. Therefore, we assume that no such regulation exists. Given that assumption, the requested documents are confidential pursuant to section 261.201 of the Family Code. See Open Records Decision No. 440 at 2 (1986) (predecessor statute). Accordingly, the department must withhold these documents from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code as information made confidential by law.
As section 552.101 is dispositive, we will not address your other claim under 552.101 and your claims under sections 552.103 and 552.108. 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.
Encl.: Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Keith D. Althar
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US