|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
January 20, 1999
Mr. John M. Knight
Dear Mr. Knight:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 121169.
The City of Arlington (the "city") received a request for information involving Juan Jose Martinez. You indicate that you have disclosed or will disclose the responsive information, with the exception of a portion thereof which you contend is excepted from public disclosure by section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception 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 report relates to an ongoing investigation. You seek to withhold the narrative portion of this report. Based upon this representation, we conclude that the release of this 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). Such information in active cases is excepted from disclosure by section 552.108(a)(1) of the Government Code (section 552.108(a)(2) applies only to closed cases).
Note however that information normally found on the front page of an offense report is generally considered public. See generally 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.(1)
In Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976), this office summarized the information that may be withheld and that which must be released. I have enclosed this summary for your review.
Although section 552.108(a)(1) authorizes you to withhold some information from disclosure, you may choose to release all or part of the information that is not otherwise confidential by law. See Gov't Code § 552.007.
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
Ref: ID# 121169
Enclosures: Submitted documents; Summary of Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976)
1. Release of the identity of a victim of sexual assault is an infringement on the victim's right
of privacy; this information is therefore confidential and may not be released to the public. Open
Records Decision No. 339 (1982). However, the victim has a special right of access to this
information. Government Code 552.023
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