September 20, 1999
Mr. Charles M. Allen, II
Richardson Police Department
P.O. Box 831078
Richardson, Texas 75083-1078
Dear Mr. Allen:
The Richardson Police Department (the "department") asks whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 128581.
The department received a request for records regarding a hit and run investigation of an auto accident which occurred on May 7, 1999. The requestor also provided the names of persons involved in the accident. The request was for "any and all reports, notes, diagrams, drawings, recordings, handwritten statements, photographs, videos, vehicle license plate numbers, vehicle identification numbers, driver's name(s) and all other such information pertaining to the investigation listed above conducted by and [sic] all employees of the Richardson Police Department." You assert that the requested information is excepted from disclosure based on section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have reviewed and considered the information you submitted.
The submitted information includes an accident report. The Seventy-fifth Legislature repealed V.T.C.S. article 6701d and amended section 550.065 of the Transportation Code concerning the disclosure of accident report information. Act of May 29, 1997, 75th Leg., R.S.ch.1187, 1997 Tex. Gen. Laws 4575, 4582-4583 (to be codified at Transp. Code § 550.065). However, a Travis County district court has issued a temporary injunction enjoining the enforcement of the amendment to section 550.065 of the Transportation Code. Texas Daily Newspaper Ass'n, v. Morales, No. 97-08930 (345th Dist. Ct., Travis County, Tex., Oct. 24, 1997) (second amended agreed temporary injunction). A temporary injunction preserves the status quo until the final hearing of a case on its merits. Janus Films, Inc. v. City of Fort Worth, 358 S.W.2d 589 (1962). The supreme court has defined the status quo as "the last, actual peaceable, non-contested status that preceded the pending controversy." Texas v. Southwestern Bell Tel. Co. 526 S.W.2d 526, 528 (Tex. 1975). The status quo of accident report information prior to the enactment of S.B. 1069 is governed by section 47 of article 6701d, V.T.C.S.(1)
Section 47(b)(1) provides in pertinent part that:
The Department or a law enforcement agency employing a peace officer who made an accident report is required to release a copy of the report on request to:
(D) a person who provides the Department or the law enforcement agency with two or more of the following:
(i) the date of the accident;
(ii) the name of any person involved in the accident; or
(iii) the specific location of the accident
V.T.C.S. art. 6701d, § 47(b)(1) (emphasis added). Under this provision, a law enforcement agency "is required to release" a copy of an accident report to a person who provides the law enforcement agency with two or more pieces of information specified by the statute. Id. In the situation at hand, the requestor has provided the department with the date of the accident, the names of persons involved in the accident, as well as the location of the accident. Thus, you are required to release the accident report, which has been included in Exhibit D, under section 47(b)(1)(D) of article 6701d, V.T.C.S.
The remaining information is excepted from disclosure based on section 552.101 of the Government Code which 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.
You have provided information that reflects that the requested information at issue 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 remaining requested information is confidential pursuant to section 58.007(c) of the Family Code. You must, therefore, withhold the remaining information requested from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code.
As section 58.007 of the Family Code is dispositive, we do not address your section 552.108 claim. 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.
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division
Ref: ID# 128581
Encl: Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Robert E. Mayvield
Senior Special Investgator
Special Investigations Unit
1701 North Plano road, Suite 200
Richardson, Texas 75081
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