|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 10, 1999
Mr. Keith Stretcher
Dear Mr. Stretcher:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 130638.
The City of Midland (the "city") received a request for police reports for seven specified dates and relating to incidents in which the requestor was apparently involved. You have provided information for our review which you indicate is responsive to the request, and which consists of police report number 9907150038. You contend that the report is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101, 552.108(a)(2), and 552.130 of the Government Code. We have reviewed the information you have submitted and considered the exceptions you claim.
Section 552.108(a)(2) of the Government Code excepts from required public disclosure "[i]nformation held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime . . . if . . . 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." You assert that the incident the subject of the report "did not result in a conviction or deferred adjudication." After reviewing the records at issue, we conclude that you have met your burden of establishing the applicability of section 552.108(a)(2) with regard to the incident report, and that most of the information contained in the report therefore may be withheld. We note, however, that information normally found on the front page of an offense report is generally considered public. Gov't Code § 552.108(c). 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).
You next assert certain information you have marked is excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 58.007 of the Family Code(1)
. This section applies only to juvenile offenders. The information you have marked relates to one or more juvenile witnesses. We therefore find section 58.007 of the Family Code to be inapplicable to the submitted information, as well as the information you have marked. Nevertheless, the information you have marked is not information normally found on the front page of an offense report.(2) You may accordingly elect to withhold the marked information under section 552.108(a)(2) of the Government Code.
You assert "all social security numbers" contained in the information are exempt from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code. Social security numbers may be withheld in some circumstances under section 552.101 of the Government Code. A social security number or "related record" may be excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 in conjunction with the 1990 amendments to the federal Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(c)(2)(C)(viii)(I). See Open Records Decision No. 622 (1994). These amendments make confidential social security numbers and related records that are obtained and maintained by a state agency or political subdivision of the state pursuant to any provision of law enacted on or after October 1, 1990. See id. We have no basis for concluding that any of the social security numbers in the file, including that of the complainant or complainants, are confidential under section 405(c)(2)(C)(viii)(I), and therefore excepted from public disclosure under section 552.101 of the Public Information Act on the basis of that federal provision. We caution, however, that section 552.353 of the Public Information Act imposes criminal penalties for the release of confidential information. Prior to releasing any social security number information, you should ensure that no such information was obtained or is maintained by the city pursuant to any provision of law, enacted on or after October 1, 1990.
You also assert that any driver's license numbers of individuals must not be released under section 552.130 of the Government Code. Section 552.130 provides in relevant part as follows:
(a) Information is excepted from the requirement of Section 552.021 if the information relates to:
(1) a motor vehicle operator's or driver's license or permit issued by an agency of this state[.]
We have marked information which you must withhold pursuant to section 552.130.
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# 130638
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Gustavo Holquin Jr.
1. Section 552.101 states "Information is excepted [from public disclosure] if it is 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), as amended by the Seventy-sixth Legislature, reads as follows:
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), law enforcement records and files concerning a child and information stored, by electronic means or otherwise, concerning the child from which a record or file could be generated may not be disclosed to the public and shall be:
(1) if maintained on paper or microfilm, kept separate from adult files and records;
(2) if maintained electronically in the same computer system as records or files relating to adults, be accessible under controls that are separate and distinct from controls to access electronic data concerning adults; and
(3) maintained on a local basis only and not sent to a central state or federal depository, except as provided by Subchapter B.
2. See Open Records Decision No. 127 at 4 (1976) (summarizing the types of information deemed public by Houston Chronicle, and indicating "identification and description of witnesses" to be excluded from front page offense report information).
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