|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
October 5, 1999
Ms. Lisa Aguilar
Dear Ms. Aguilar:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your requests were assigned ID#s 127920 and 128713. We have combined these files and will consider the issues presented in this single ruling assigned ID# 127920.
The City of Corpus Christi (the "city") received two requests for information relating to the investigation of the June 14, 1999, simmunition shooting at the Old Nueces County Courthouse. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101 and 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and have reviewed the submitted documents.
Section 552.108, the "law enforcement exception," provides in relevant part as follows:
(a) [i]nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from the requirements of 552.021 if: (1) release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime; [or] (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[.]
Generally, a governmental body claiming an exception under section 552.108 must reasonably explain, if the information does not supply the explanation on its face, how and why the release of the requested information would interfere with law enforcement. See Gov't Code §§ 552.108(a)(1), (b)(1), .301(b)(1); see also Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1977). You explain that the submitted records relate to a pending criminal investigation. Based upon this representation, we find that the release of Exhibits B and C 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). Therefore, the city may withhold Exhibits B and C from disclosure under section 552.108(a)(1).
We note, however, that information normally found on the front page of an offense report is generally considered public. 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); Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). Thus, you must release the type of information that is considered to be front page offense report information, even if this information is not actually located on the front page of the offense report. Gov't Code § 552.108(c); see Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976) (summarizing the types of information deemed public by Houston Chronicle).
Because we are able to make a determination under section 552.108, we need not address your section 552.101 claim. 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 on as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have any questions regarding this ruling, please contact our office.
June B. Harden
Ref: ID# 127920
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Heather Howard
Ms. Nicole Perez
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US