|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
December 10, 1999
Ms. Lisa Aguilar
Dear Ms. Aguilar:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act (the "act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 130224.
The Corpus Christi Police Department (the "department") received a request for "the records on calls for service and offenses at 4309 Driftwood . . . and any police reports resulting from those calls from January 1, 1997 through the current date." In response to the request, you submit to this office for review responsive offense reports and a representative sample of the dispatch records at issue. Based on your letter, it is our understanding that the department has provided the requestor with certain information from the responsive reports.(1) You contend that the other information responsive to the request is excepted from disclosure pursuant to section 552.108 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the documents at issue.
At the outset, we address your reference to section 552.305, which we understand, based on your submissions, to be an attempt to implicate section 552.101 of the Government Code for the requested information. Section 552.101 excepts from required public disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Generally, a request for all records of a named individual is a request for criminal history information ("CHRI"), which is confidential pursuant to the individual right to privacy. See United States Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989). However, in this instance, since the requestor only seeks information concerning a specified address during a specific time period, we conclude that CHRI is not implicated. See also Gov't Code § 552.352.(2)
Section 552.108(a)(2) excepts from disclosure information concerning an investigation that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication. Based on the information you provided, we understand you to assert that the requested information pertains to crimes that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication. Therefore, we agree that section 552.108(a)(2) is applicable to the submitted records.
As you are aware, you must provide the requestor with the basic front page offense report information in the submitted documents, including a detailed description of the responsive offense reports. Section 552.108(c) provides that section 552.108 does not except from disclosure "basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime." Front page offense report information is the basic information required to be disclosed. See generally 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). We further advise the department that this office has determined that there is no qualitative difference between the information contained in police dispatch records and that which was expressly held to be public in Houston Chronicle. Open Records Decision No. 394 (1983). Thus, a police record of calls answered, like front page offense report information, is generally public. Id. Accordingly, you must release basic information, including the dispatch records. Therefore, we conclude that, except for basic front page information, the requested information may be withheld under section 552.108(a)(2) of the Government Code.
This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.
This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code § 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. § 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days.
Id. § 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. § 552.321(a).
If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. § 552.3215(e).
If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. § 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).
If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.
Ref.: ID# 130224
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Suzanne Payne
1. Certain basic information normally found on the front page of an offense report, including a detailed description of the offense, is generally considered public. See Gov't Code § 552.108(c); see generally 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).
2. Sections 772.118, 772.218 and 772.318 of the Health and Safety Code make confidential the originating telephone numbers and addresses of 911 callers furnished by a service supplier. See Open Records Decision No. 649 (1996).
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