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June 2, 2000

Mr. Charles Allen, II
Legal Office
Richardson Police Department
P.O. Box 831078
Richardson, Texas 75083

OR2000-2163

Dear Mr. Allen:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 136069.

The Richardson Police Department (the "department") received a request for information related to family violence cases reported between 1990 and 1998. You apparently construe this as a request for cases involving only the requestor. You have provided information from three such cases to this office for review. You claim that the submitted information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.108 (a)(2) of the Government Code excepts from public disclosure information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor 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. This exception to disclosure applies only to cases that have reached a final result other than conviction or deferred adjudication. You inform this office that one of the subject cases was either no billed or dismissed by the court; another was not referred to the grand jury because an affidavit of non-prosecution was filed by the complainant; and the third was not referred to the grand jury because of the complainant's failure to cooperate with the investigator assigned to the case. We conclude that you have shown that 552.108(a)(2) applies to the submitted information since in each of the submitted cases the information relates to an investigation that concluded in a result other than a conviction or deferred adjudication. Note, however, that "basic" information about a crime or arrest is not excepted by section 552.108. Gov't Code 552.108(c).

We consider "basic information" to be the "front page information" made public by 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)( delineating types of information that must be released). Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). The "basic" information in the submitted files must be released and the remainder of this information may be withheld under section 552.108(a)(2) of the Government Code.

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,

Michael Jay Burns
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

MJB/nc

Ref: ID# 136069

Encl Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Christe Hess Cummins
2901 St. George
Garland, Texas 75044
(w/o enclosures)


 

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