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February 2, 1999

Mr. Lou Bright
General Counsel
Alcoholic Beverage Commission
P.O. Box 13127
Austin, Texas 78711-3127

OR99-0303

Dear Mr. Bright:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 122178.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (the "commission") received a request for information concerning Terry Leesman and an incident on May 17, 1998, at the Ice House in Fort Bend County. You submit to this office among other things: (1) a copy of the requested records and (2) a letter from the district attorney's office in Fort Bend County, requesting that the commission withhold from public disclosure information concerning Mr. Leesman. You also raise section 552.103 of the Government Code as an exception to disclosure, and you state that criminal charges have been filed against Mr. Leesman in Fort Bend County. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the documents at issue.

In this instance, the requested information concerns an incident that is the subject of a criminal prosecution. The district attorney has asked that the requested information concerning Mr. Leesman be withheld from public disclosure. The need of a governmental body, other than the body that is seeking an open records decision, to withhold information under section 552.108 of the Government Code may be a compelling reason for non-disclosure. Open Record Decision No. 586 (1991). We therefore conclude that section 552.108(a)(1) applies to the requested information.

Section 552.108 excepts from disclosure "[i]nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Gov't Code 552.108; see Holmes v. Morales, 924 S.W.2d 920 (Tex. 1996). We note, however, that information normally found on the front page of an offense report is generally considered public. Houston Chronicle Publishing 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); Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). You state that you have released some information to the requestor. You must release all of the types of information that are considered to be front page offense report information, even if this information is not actually located on the front page of the offense report. See Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976) (summarizing the types of information deemed public by Houston Chronicle); see also Open Records Decision No. 597 (1991) (basic information in an offense report generally may not be withheld under section 552.103). We therefore conclude that, except for front page offense report information, section 552.108 of the Government Code excepts the requested records from required public disclosure, although you may choose to release all or part of the information at issue that is not otherwise confidential by law. Gov't Code 552.007.(1) We have enclosed a summary of Open Records Decision No. 127 to assist you in determining the information that must be disclosed.

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,

Emilie F. Stewart
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

EFS\nc

Ref: ID# 122178

Enclosures: Submitted documents

Summary of ORD 127

cc: Mr. Logene Foster
The Foster Law Firm
P.O. Drawer 618
Sugarland, Texas 77487
(w/o enclosures)

SUMMARY OF OPEN RECORDS DECISION NO. 127 (1976)

I. TYPES OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC

1. Arrestee's social security number, name, aliases, race, sex, age, occupation, address, police department identification number, and physical condition.

2. Offense for which suspect arrested.

3. Identification and description of complainant

4. Location of crime

5. Time of occurrence

6. Vehicle involved

7. Property involved

8. Detailed description of offense

9. Name of arresting officers

10. Date and time of arrest

11. Place of arrest

12. Details of arrest

13. Description of weather

14. Booking information

15. Court in which charge is filed

16. Notation of any release or transfer

17. Bonding information

18. Numbers for statistical purposes relating to modus operandi of those apprehended

II. TYPES OF INFORMATION PROTECTED BY SECTION 552.108 IN ACTIVE INVESTIGATIONS

1. Identification and description of witnesses

2. Synopsis of confession

3. Officer's speculation as to suspect's guilt

4. Officer's view of witness credibility

5. Statements by informants

6. Ballistics reports

7. Fingerprint comparisons

8. Blood and other lab tests

9. Results of polygraph test

10. Refusal to take polygraph test

11. Paraffin test results

12. Spectrographic or other investigative reports

13. Personal History and Arrest Record that includes

A. Identifying numbers (such as TDCJ numbers)

B. Physical description with emphasis on scars and tattoos

C. Marital status and relatives

D. Mugshots, palm prints, fingerprints, and signature

E. Chronological history of any arrests and disposition

See Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976).


 

Footnotes

1. Because we are able to make a determination under section 552.108, we do not address your argument under section 552.103.
 

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