|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 22, 1999
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# 131104.
The Amarillo Police Department (the "department ") received a request for information regarding case number 99-44285. You claim that the information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.101 and 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted information.
Section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." This section encompasses information protected by statute. Section 261.201(a) of the Family Code provides that:
(a) The following information is confidential, is not subject to public release under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may be disclosed only for purposes consistent with this code and applicable federal or state law or under rules adopted by an investigating agency:
(1) a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect made under this chapter and the identity of the person making the report; and
(2) except as otherwise provided in this section, the files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under this chapter or in providing services as a result of an investigation.
The requested information consists of an incident report used or developed in an investigation made under chapter 261 of the Family Code. Because you have not cited any
specific rule that the department has adopted with regard to the release of this type of information, we assume that no such regulation exists. We therefore conclude that the requested information is confidential under section 261.201 of the Family Code. See Open Records Decision No. 440 at 2 (1986) (construing predecessor statute). Accordingly, the department must withhold the incident report from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code as information made confidential by law. Because we find the information confidential by law, we need not address the applicability of section 552.108.
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# 131104
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Alisha Cordell
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US