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January 12,1999

Mr. Frank M. Crull
Assistant General Counsel
Texas Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, Texas 78773-0001

OR99-0082

Dear Mr. Crull:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 120977.

The Department of Public Safety (the "department") received a request for information related to a motor vehicle accident involving Frances Duncan and Donald Cooper. You contend that all responsive information, with the exception of the accident report, is excepted from public disclosure by sections 552.103 and 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and have reviewed the documents at issue.

Section 552.108 of the Government Code, reads in pertinent part:

(a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

(1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime;

(2) it is information 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;

. . .

(c) This section does not except from the requirements of Section 552.021 information that is basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime.

You state that the requested information relates to an ongoing case currently being prepared for presentation to the grand jury. Based upon this representation, we conclude that the release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime. See 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) (court delineates law enforcement interests that are present in active cases). We conclude that the submitted information may be withheld.

We note, that information normally found on the front page of an offense report is generally considered public. Gov't Code 552.108(c); Houston Chronicle, 531 S.W.2d 177; Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). Thus, you must release the type of information that is considered to be front page offense report information, including a detailed description of the offense and arrest, even if this information is not actually located on the front page of the offense report. In Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976), this office summarized the front page information of an offense report.

As we are able to resolve this matter by application of section 552.108 of the Government Code, we do not address your argument raised under section 552.103 of that code. We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Yours very truly,

Michael J. Burns
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

MJB/ch

Ref: ID# 120977

Enclosures: Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Tara Felldin
Manos & Borne
606 West 11th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(w/o enclosures)


 

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