|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 12, 1999
Mr. Steven D. Monte;
Dear Mr. Monte;:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID # 130766.
The Dallas Police Department (the "department") received a request for all warrants and arrest history pertaining to a certain individual. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the information you submitted.
Section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision," including information protected by the common-law right of privacy. Industrial Found. v. Texas Indus. Accident Bd., 540 S.W.2d 668, 683-85 (Tex. 1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 931 (1977). To the extent that the requestor seeks unspecified records in which the named individual is identified as a suspect, the department is being asked, in essence, to compile that individual's criminal history. Where an individual's criminal history information has been compiled by a governmental entity, the information takes on a character that implicates the individual's right to privacy. See United States Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989) (concluding that federal regulations which limit access to criminal history record information that states obtain from federal government or other states recognize privacy interest in such information). Open records decisions issued by this office also recognize this same privacy interest in such information. See Open Records Decision Nos. 616 (1993), 565 (1990). Therefore, the department must withhold the requested information from disclosure, pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with the common-law right to privacy.
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.
James W. Morris, III
Ref: ID# 130766
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Herman Teel
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US