|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
December 4, 2000
Ms. Tamara Armstrong
Dear Ms. Armstrong:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 141795.
The Travis County Sheriff's Department (the "department") received a written request for a particular offense report. You contend that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.103, 552.108, and 552.130 of the Government Code.
Section 552.108(a)(1) of the Government Code 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 . . . release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Based on your representation that the records at issue relate to a pending criminal investigation and possible prosecution, we conclude that you have met your burden of demonstrating the applicability of section 552.108(a)(1) to the information at issue. The department therefore may withhold most of the requested information at this time pursuant to section 552.108(a)(1).
We note, however, that section 552.108 does not except from public disclosure "basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime." Gov't Code § 552.108(c). Consequently, the department must release the types of information held to be public in Houston Chronicle Publishing Company 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), including a detailed description of the alleged offense.(1)
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).
Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to Hadassah Schloss at the General Services Commission at 512/475-2497.
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.
Ref: ID# 141795
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Michael Clakley
1. Because we resolve your request under section 552.108, we need not address the applicability of the other exceptions you raised except to note that section 552.103 does not except from disclosure "basic information." Open Records Decision No. 597 (1991).