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Office of the ATTORNEY GENERAL
GREG ABBOTT
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December 5, 2002

Ms. Larissa T. Roeder
Assistant District Attorney
Dallas County
133 North Industrial Boulevard, LB 19
Dallas, Texas 75207-4399

OR2002-6913

Dear Ms. Roeder:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 173220.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office (the "district attorney") received a request for the names and addresses of all jurors who participated in a certain trial. You state that the requestor "seeks access to the names and address of the jurors seated in the above referenced case." We thus understand you to interpret the request as seeking information relating to jurors who actually participated in the referenced criminal trial. Accordingly, this ruling does not address any other submitted information. You may redact this other information as it is not responsive to the request for information. You claim that the responsive information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code.(1) We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

You claim that the responsive information is confidential under article 35.29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 35.29 provides as follows:

Information collected by the court or by a prosecuting attorney during the jury selection process about a person who serves as a juror, including the juror's home address, home telephone number, social security number, driver's license number, and other personal information, is confidential and may not be disclosed by the court, the prosecuting attorney, the defense counsel, or any court personnel except on application by a party in the trial or on application by a bona fide member of the news media acting in such capacity to the court in which the person is serving or did serve as a juror. On a showing of good cause, the court shall permit disclosure of the information sought. [Emphasis added].

Article 35.29 makes confidential certain personal information pertaining to those individuals who actually served on the petit jury in a criminal trial.(2) Accordingly, the addresses of those jurors who actually served on the jury in the referenced trial are confidential pursuant to section 552.101 in conjunction with article 35.29. Juror names, however, are not made confidential by article 35.29, and are not "other personal information" which is confidential pursuant to article 35.29. Thus, the district attorney must release to the requestor the names of jurors actually serving in the above-referenced criminal trial.

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 Texas Building and Procurement 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. We note that a third party may challenge this ruling by filing suit seeking to withhold information from a requestor. Gov't Code 552.325. 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,

V.G. Schimmel
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division
VGS/sdk
Ref: ID# 173220
Enc: Submitted documents

c: Ms. Earnestine Walker
11408 Audelia Road, #4773
Dallas, Texas 75243
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. You also raise section 552.108 with respect to prosecutors' handwritten comments on the submitted juror information cards. As we find that this information is not responsive to the request for information as you have interpreted it, we do not address your arguments under section 552.108.

2. As you refer this office to article 35.29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, we understand you to assert that the submitted information relates to petit jurors who were summoned for a criminal trial.
 

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