|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
March 5, 1999
Mr. Jay Garrett
Dear Mr. Garrett:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 122691.
The City of Greenville Police Department received a request for a particular offense report. You contend that the offense report is excepted from disclosure pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 58.007 of the Family Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the documents at issue.
Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision. The requested offense report is confidential by statute and must be withheld from disclosure because it involves juvenile conduct that occurred before January 1, 1996. Section 51.14(d) of the Family Code was repealed by the Seventy-fourth Legislature. Act of May 27, 1995, 74th Leg., R.S., ch. 262, § 100, 1995 Tex. Gen. Laws 2517, 2590. Currently, section 58.007 of the Family Code provides that law enforcement records concerning a child must not be publicly disclosed. Family Code Ann. § 58.007(c). However, the amending bill provides that "[c]onduct that occurs before the effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect at the time the conduct occurred, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose." Act of June 2, 1997, H.B. 1550, 75th Leg., R.S., ch. 1086, § 53, 1997 Tex. Gen. Laws 4179, 4199.
At the time the juvenile conduct occurred, the applicable law in effect was former Family Code section 51.14 which provides, in pertinent part:
(d) Except as provided by Article 15.27, Code of Criminal Procedure, and except for files and records relating to a charge for which a child is transferred under Section 54.02 of this code to a criminal court for prosecution, the law-enforcement files and records [concerning a child] are not open to public inspection nor may their contents be disclosed to the public.
Act of May 22, 1993, 73d Leg., R.S., ch. 461, § 3, 1993 Tex. Gen. Laws 1850, 1852, repealed by Act of May 27, 1995, 74th Leg., R.S., ch. 262, § 100, 1995 Tex. Gen. Laws 2517, 2590. In Open Records Decision No. 181 at 2 (1977), this office held that the former section 51.14(d) protects police reports which identify juveniles or furnish a basis for their identification. See also Open Records Decision No. 394 at 4-5 (1983) (applying former Fam. Code § 51.14(d) to "police blotter" and related information). You do not indicate that the offense report at issue here relates to charges for which the juvenile was transferred under section 54.02 of the Family Code to a criminal court for prosecution, or that article 15.27 of the Code of Criminal Procedure applies. Moreover, it does not appear that any of the exceptions to the former section 51.14(d) apply to the requestor. See Act of May 22, 1993, 73d Leg., R.S., ch. 461, § 3, 1993 Tex. Gen. Laws 1850, 1852 (repealed 1995) (formerly Fam. Code § 51.14(d)(1), (2), (3)). Accordingly, we conclude that you must withhold the requested offense report from disclosure pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code as information deemed confidential by statute.
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.
Karen E. Hattaway
Ref:: ID# 122691
Enclosures: Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Suzanne C. Ekvall
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US