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November 8, 1999

Mr. Monty Wade Sullivan
Assistant City Attorney
City of Houston
P. O. Box 1562
Houston, Texas 77251-1562

OR99-3148

Dear Mr. Sullivan:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 130722.

The City of Houston (the "city") received a request for information regarding offense report number 126340699 and the qualifications of medical staff in city jails. You claim that the report is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108 of the Government Code. We assume that you have released the remaining requested information. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.108(a) provides in pertinent part:

(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;

(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; or

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

representing the state.

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 section 552.108 is applicable. See Gov't Code 552.108(a)(1),(b)(1), 552 .301(b)(1); see also Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1977). You state that the requested information relates to a pending criminal investigation, and its release "would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of a crime." We conclude that you have met your burden of establishing that the release of the requested information at this time could interfere with law enforcement or prosecution. 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).

However, section 552.108(c) requires public disclosure of "basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime." The city is required to release such basic information, often referred to as "front page" offense report information, in accordance with Houston Chronicle Publishing Company 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). See also Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). You indicate that this information will be provided. Thus, with the exception of the basic "front page" offense and arrest information, you may withhold the offense report from disclosure based on section 552.108(a)(1).

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,

Patricia Michels Anderson
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

PMA/jc

Ref: ID# 130722

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Henry Steve Cook
9357 Leto
Houston, Texas 77080
(w/o enclosures)


 

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