|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
June 4, 1999
Ms. Lilia Ledesma-Gonzalez
Dear Ms. Ledesma-Gonzalez:
You have asked whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 126656.
The McAllen Police Department received a request for offense report numbers 99-16433 and 99-16441. You assert that the requested information is excepted from disclosure based on section 552.108 of the Government Code and section 51.14 of the Family Code.
Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 552.101 encompasses confidentiality provisions such as Family Code section 58.007. Juvenile law enforcement records relating to conduct that occurred on or after September 1, 1997 are confidential under section 58.007. The relevant language of section 58.007(c) reads as follows:
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), law enforcement records and files concerning a child may not be disclosed to the public and shall be:
(1) kept separate from adult files and records; and
(2) maintained on a local basis only and not sent to a central state or federal depository, except as provided by Subchapter B.
Offense report number 99-16441 involves juvenile conduct that occurred after September 1, 1997. It does not appear that any of the exceptions in section 58.007 apply; therefore, the requested information in offense report number 99-16441 is confidential pursuant to section 58.007(c) of the Family Code. You must withhold offense report number 99-16441 from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code.
Next, we consider the application of section 552.108 to offense report number 99-16443. Section 552.108 of the Government Code states that information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from required public disclosure "if release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Gov't Code § 552.108(a)(1). You inform us that the requested information pertains to a pending case. We therefore believe that the release of the information in offense report number 99-14663 "would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Id.
However, section 552.108 is inapplicable to basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime. Gov't Code § 552.108(c). We believe such basic information refers to the information held to be public in 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). Thus, with the exception of the basic front page offense and arrest information, you may withhold the requested information in offense report number 99-16443 from disclosure based on section 552.108(a)(1). We note that you have the discretion to release all or part of the remaining information in offense report number 99-14663 that is not otherwise confidential by law. Gov't Code § 552.007.
We are resolving this matter with this 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 may not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
Ref.: ID# 126656
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Marisela Garcia Godinez
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US