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May 22, 2000

Ms. Tenley Aldredge
Assistant County Attorney
County of Travis
P.O. Box 1748
Austin, Texas 78767

OR2000-2013

Dear Ms. Aldredge:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 135395.

The Travis County District Attorney's Office (the "district attorney") received a request for all information regarding a particular case and defendant. You indicate that you have already released to the requestor documents filed with the court. You submit a representative sample of the remaining information, and claim that the information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101, 552.108 and 552.130 of the Government Code.(1) We have considered the exceptions you claim and have reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.108(a)(3) excepts from required public disclosure information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime, if it is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation, or it reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state. You maintain that the submitted information reflects "the mental impressions and/or legal reasoning of the various prosecutors who handled this case in that they reflect the prosecutors' legal theories and conclusions as to what issues they considered important in the case." Based upon your arguments and a careful review of the submitted information, we conclude that the information may be withheld from disclosure under section 552.108(a)(3)(B) of the Government Code. Since section 552.108 is dispositive of the information at issue, we do not address your other claimed exceptions.

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,

Carla Gay Dickson
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

CDG/ljp

Ref: ID# 135395

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Leslie Inman, R.N.
Legal Nurse Consultant
Slack & Davis
8911 Capitol of Texas Highway North, Suite 2110
Austin, Texas 78759
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. In reaching our conclusion here, we assume that the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of the requested records as a whole. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988); 497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach, and therefore does not authorize the withholding of, any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than that submitted to this office.
 

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