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John Cornyn
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March 20, 2000

Mr. Edward W. Dunbar
Dunbar, Armendariz, Crowley & Hegeman, L.L.P.
4720 Transmountain Drive
El Paso, Texas 79924

OR2000-1100

Dear Mr. Dunbar:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 133188.

The El Paso Community College (the "college"), which you represent, received a request for all records concerning the special investigative review committee established by the college for the purpose of investigating the El Paso Community College Police Department (the "department"), including the committee's report and written findings or recommendations. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101, 552.102, and 552.114 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

You have submitted for our review the original tape recordings of proceedings before the investigative review committee. As you acknowledge, this office previously addressed the investigation report concerning the department. See Open Records Letter No. 99-2410 (1999). Because you have not submitted any written findings of the committee or an investigation report, we assume that you have released such information in accordance with Open Records Letter No. 99-2410.

Having reviewed the tape recordings, we conclude that the tape recordings contain information protected by section 552.117(2) of the Government Code.(1) Section 552.117(2) excepts from public disclosure a peace officer's home address, home telephone number, social security number, and information indicating whether the peace officer has family members. Because information prohibited from disclosure by section 552.117(2) is "inextricably intertwined" with other public information, we conclude that the tape recordings must be withheld in their entirety. Attorney General Opinion JM-672 (1987); Open Records Decision Nos. 470 (1987), 393 (1983), 239 (1980), 74 (1977) (withholding public information which is "inextricably intertwined" with excepted information). Thus, the college must withhold the tape recordings.(2)

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 Department 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,

Jennifer Bialek
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

JHB/ch

Ref: ID# 133188

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Eduardo Miranda
Ray, McChristian & Jeans
5822 Cromo, Suite 400
El Paso, Texas 79912
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. As you acknowledge, portions of the tape recordings are unintelligible. We also note that one of the tapes was damaged.

2. Having found that the tape recordings are excepted from disclosure under section 552.117(2), we need not address the applicability of sections 552.101, 552.102, and 552.114.
 

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