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December 13, 2000

Mr. Charles M. Allen, II
Richardson Police Department
P.O. Box 831078
Richardson, Texas 75083-1078

OR2000-4692

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# 142267.

The Richardson Police Department (the "department") received a request for polygraph reports from a polygraph test conducted on a specified individual in 1988 who is currently incarcerated. You claim you need not comply with the request pursuant to section 552.028 of the Government Code. We have considered your arguments.

Section 552.028 of the Government Code provides the following:

(a) A governmental body is not required to accept or comply with a request for information from:

(1) an individual who is imprisoned or confined in a correctional facility; or

(2) an agent of that individual, other than that individual's attorney when the attorney is requesting information that is subject to disclosure under this chapter.

(b) This section does not prohibit a governmental body from disclosing to an individual described by Subsection (a)(1), or that individual's agent, information held by the governmental body pertaining to that individual.

(c) In this section, "correctional facility" has the meaning assigned by Section 1.07(a), Penal Code.

Gov't Code 552.028. The requestor states that she has been asked by the incarcerated individual's mother to help get her son an evidentiary hearing which might result in her son's release from prison. Therefore, if the requestor is indeed acting as an agent of the incarcerated individual, section 552.028 gives the department the discretion to either "comply with" this request or deny it in its entirety.

Although you have not submitted any responsive information, we note that polygraph test results are governed by section 1703.306 of the Occupations Code. Section 1703.306 of the Occupations Code provides:

A polygraph examiner, trainee, or employee of a polygraph examiner, or a person for whom a polygraph examination is conducted or an employee of the person may not disclose information acquired from a polygraph examination to another person other than:

(1) the examinee or any other person specifically designated in writing by the examinee;

(2) the person that requested the examination;

(3) a member, or the member's agent, of a governmental agency that licenses a polygraph examiner or supervises or controls a polygraph examiner's activities;

(4) another polygraph examiner in private consultation; or

(5) any other person required by due process of law.

(b) The board or any other governmental agency that acquires information from a polygraph examination under this section shall maintain the confidentiality of the information.

(c) A polygraph examiner to whom information acquired from a polygraph examination is disclosed under Subsection (a)(4) may not disclose the information except as provided by this section.

Occ. Code 1703.306. Accordingly, the department must adhere to section 1703.306 of the Occupations Code with regard to polygraph reports.

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).

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.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Bialek
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

JHB/er

Ref: ID# 142267

cc: Ms. Joanne Weller
14762 Justifiable Ct.
Woodbine, MD 21797  

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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