|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 1, 1999
Mr. Gary W. Smith
Dear Mr. Smith:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 129165.
The Baytown Police Department (the "department") received a request for information regarding a murder investigation. You have released some of the information to the requestor. However, you assert that you need not comply with the request under section 552.028 of the Government Code. You further assert that portions of the requested information are excepted from public disclosure by sections 552.101 and 552.108 of the Government Code.
The Seventy-sixth Legislature amended section 552.028 to provide as follows:
(a) A governmental body is not required to accept or comply with a request for information from:
(1) an individual who is imprisoned or confined in a correctional facility; or
(2) an agent of that individual, other than that individual's attorney when the attorney is requesting information that is subject to disclosure under this chapter.
(b) This section does not prohibit a governmental body from disclosing to an individual described by Subsection (a)(1), or that individual's agent, information held by the governmental body pertaining to that individual.
Act of May 10, 1999, 76th Leg., R.S., ch. 154, § 1, 1999 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. 623 (to be codified as an amendment to Gov't Code § 552.028) (effective May 21, 1999). You submit information showing that the requestor is making the request on behalf of the defendant. You advise that
the requestor has the last name as the person convicted of murder in this case. Her first name is uniquely spelled the same as the person who occupied the vehicle with the defendant in the case. It appears that she is the wife of the defendant who is currently incarcerated.
We understand you to contend that, because the requestor is acting as the inmate's agent, you may decline to comply with the request. We agree that section 552.028 of the Government Code permits you to decline to accept or comply with a request for information that is submitted by an individual who is imprisoned or confined in a correctional facility or that person's agent.
Should you choose to comply with this request for information, you must not release information confidential by law. The social security numbers in the report may be confidential if they were obtained or are maintained by the department pursuant to any provision of law, enacted on or after October 1, 1990. 42 U.S.C. § 405(c)(2)(C)(vii); see Open Records Decision No. 622 (1994). In addition, the department must withhold the drivers' license numbers under section 552.130 as they are information that relates to a motor vehicle operator's or driver's license issued by an agency of this state.
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.
Ref.: ID# 129165
Encl.: Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Amie Martinez
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US