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March 10, 2000

Ms. Lisa Aguilar
Assistant City Attorney
City of Corpus Christi
Post Office Box 9277
Corpus Christi, Texas 78469-9277

OR2000-0461

Dear Ms. Aguilar:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code. Your request was assigned ID#133284.

The Corpus Christi Police Department received a request for dispatch responses to a specified address between July 1, 1999 to January 3, 2000. You claim that information from one service report, the name of a sexual assault victim, is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101 and 552.108 of the Texas Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and have reviewed the documents submitted.

Section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." This section encompasses information protected by other statutes. Under section 552.101, information may be withheld on the basis of common law privacy. The doctrine of common law privacy protects information if it is highly intimate or embarrassing such that its release would be highly objectionable to a reasonable person and the public has no legitimate interest in it. Industrial Found. v. Texas Indus. Accident Bd., 540 S.W.2d 668 (Tex. 1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 931 (1977). Accordingly, you must withhold any information tending to identify the sexual assault victims pursuant to common law privacy. See Open Records Decision Nos. 393 (1983), 339 (1982). We have marked the information you must withhold.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Dep't of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,

Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

YHL/CHS/cwt

Ref: ID# 133284

Encl. Marked documents

cc: Mr. Douglas K. Garner
6421 Bellac
Corpus Christi, Texas 78414
(w/o enclosures)


 

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