|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 8, 1999
Lieutenant Brad Lancaster
Dear Lieutenant Lancaster:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID#130667.
The City of Amarillo Police Department (the "department") received a request for incident report number 9941645. You claim that the information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108(a)(1) of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.
Section 552.108(a) provides in pertinent part:
(a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from [required public disclosure] . . . if:
(1) release of the information would interfere with the detection,
investigation, or prosecution of crime;
(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; or
(3) it is information that:
(A) is prepared by an attorney representing the state in anticipation of or in the course of preparing for criminal litigation; or
(B) reflects the mental impressions or legal reasoning of an attorney representing the state.
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 section 552.108 is applicable. See Gov't Code §§ 552.108(a)(1),(b)(1), 552 .301(b)(1); see also Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1977). You state that the requested information relates to a criminal case pendiong in municipal court. We conclude that section 552.108(a)(1) is applicable to the incident report in question. You therefore may withhold most of the requested information at this time pursuant to section 552.108(a)(1).
However, section 552.108(c) requires public disclosure of "basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime." The department is required to release such basic information, often referred to as "front page" offense report information, in accordance with 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). See also Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). Thus, with the exception of the basic "front page" offense and arrest information, you may withhold the incident report from disclosure based on section 552.108(a)(1).
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.
Patricia Michels Anderson
Ref: ID# 130667
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Barbara Mills
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US