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May 12, 2000

Mr. Kevin E. Oliver
Cooper & Scully
Founders Square
900 Jackson Street, Suite 100
Dallas, Texas 75202

OR2000-1872

Dear Mr. Oliver:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 135878.

The City of Coppell (the "city"), which you represent, received a written request for three offense reports. You state that the city has released two of the offense reports to the requestor, as well as the "front page" information from the third report. See Gov't Code 552.108(c); Houston Chronicle Publishing 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).(1) You contend that the remaining information contained in the third requested report is excepted from required public disclosure pursuant to section 552.108 of the Government Code.

You argue that the requested information is excepted from required public disclosure pursuant to sections 552.108(a)(1) and 552.108(a)(2) of the Government Code.(2) Section 552.108(a)(2) excepts from required public disclosure "[i]nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime . . . if . . . 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[.]" Section 552.108(a)(2) protects law-enforcement records that pertain to criminal investigations and prosecutions that have concluded in a result other than a criminal conviction or deferred adjudication.

In this instance, you state that the offense report at issue "DID NOT result in a conviction or deferred adjudication." (Emphasis in original.) We assume from this representation that the department's investigation has concluded. Given that assumption, this office concludes that the department may withhold the information at issue pursuant to section 552.108(a)(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,

Rose-Michel Munguía
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

RMM/RWP/pr

Ref: ID# 135878

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Laura M. Fleming
P.O. Box 1043
Lewisville, Texas 75067
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. Under Houston Chronicle, the city is required to release, among other things, the identity of the victim/complainant. We assume the city has released this information. If it has not, it must do so at this time.

2. The protections offered by section 552.108(a)(1) and 552.108(a)(2) are, generally speaking, mutually exclusive. Section 552.108(a)(1) generally applies to information held by law-enforcement agencies that pertains to pending criminal investigations or prosecutions. Section 552.108(a)(2) protects law-enforcement records that pertain to criminal investigations and prosecutions that have concluded in a result other than a criminal conviction or deferred adjudication.
 

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