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Office of the ATTORNEY GENERAL
GREG ABBOTT
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December 10, 2002

Ms. Sue Ann Gregory
Assistant Criminal District Attorney
Bexar County Civil Division
300 Delorosa, Suite 4049
San Antonio, Texas 78205

OR2002-7013

Dear Ms. Gregory:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 173377.

The Bexar County Criminal Investigation Laboratory (the "county") received a request for log-in and log-out property forms for a particular handgun. You claim that the county need not comply with the request under section 552.028 of the Government Code. We have considered the county's arguments and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.028 of the Government Code provides in relevant part that "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." Gov't Code 552.028(a). Although the requestor gives no indication that she represents the inmate you name or any other inmate, you argue that the handwriting in the request is "virtually identical" to the handwriting found in an earlier request for the exact same information, which was explicitly on the inmate's behalf. Consequently, you state that the requestor is acting as an agent of an individual confined in a correctional facility. Therefore, pursuant to section 552.028, you need not comply this request.

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,

Jennifer E. Berry
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division
JEB/sdk
Ref: ID# 173377
Enc: Submitted documents

c: Ms. Beverly Bullock
P.O. Box 861
Springville, Alabama 35146
(w/o enclosures)


 

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