|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
October 5, 1999
Ms. Deanie Bostick-Martin
Dear Ms. Bostik-Martin:
You ask this office to reconsider our ruling in Open Records Letter No. 99-1987 (1999). Your request for reconsideration was assigned ID# 127998.
The City of Lubbock (the "city") received a request for information relating to case number 98-18541. In Open Records Letter No. 99-1987, this office concluded that the city could not withhold the requested case file from disclosure because the city had failed to timely request a ruling from this office. You assert that the city's request for a decision was timely, and have submitted additional information to establish the timeliness of your original request. After reviewing the information presented and our own internal procedures, we conclude that your request for a decision was submitted to this office within the statutory time period. Therefore, we will consider the merits of your original argument for withholding the requested information under sections 552.103 and 552.108 of the Government Code.
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 state that the requested information relates to a capitol murder case that is currently being prosecuted by the Office of the Criminal District Attorney. Based upon your representations, we conclude that the release of the case file 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 case file 98-18541 under section 552.108(a)(1).(1) Open Records Letter No. 99-1987 is overruled to the extent it conflicts with this ruling.
If you have any questions regarding this ruling, please contact our office.
June B. Harden
Ref: ID# 127998
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Vanessa Leggett
1. You indicate that the city has released "basic information" in accordance with section 552.108(c) of the Government Code and Houston Chronicle Publishing Company 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).
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