|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
August 16, 2000
Mr. M. Shannon Kackley
Dear Mr. Kackley:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 138179.
The City of Garland (the "city") received a request for "all call sheets, police reports, etc" involving the requestor and another individual during a specified period. You indicate that you have released most of the responsive information to the requestor but seek to withhold a portion of the responsive information under section 552.101of the Government Code. We have considered the exception 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 the common law right to privacy. The common law right to privacy protects information if (1) the information contains highly intimate or embarrassing facts the publication of which would be highly objectionable to a reasonable person, and (2) the information is not of legitimate concern to the public. Industrial Found. v. Texas Indus. Accident Bd., 540 S.W.2d 668, 685 (Tex. 1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 931 (1977). In Industrial Foundation, the Texas Supreme Court considered intimate and embarrassing information such as that relating to sexual assault, pregnancy, mental or physical abuse in the workplace, illegitimate children, psychiatric treatment of mental disorders, attempted suicide, and injuries to sexual organs. 540 S.W.2d at 683; see also, Open Records Decision Nos. 470 (concluding that fact that a person broke out in hives as a result of severe emotional distress is excepted by common law privacy), 455 (1987) (concluding that kinds of prescription drugs a person is taking are protected by common law privacy), 422 (1984) (concluding that details of self-inflicted injuries are presumed protected by common law privacy) 343 (1982) (concluding that information regarding drug overdoses, acute alcohol intoxication, obstetrical/gynecological illnesses, convulsions/seizures, or emotional/mental distress is protected by common law privacy). Here, the submitted information includes references to the mental health of an individual. This information must be withheld.(1)
The courts have also held that 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 the federal government or other states recognize privacy interest in such information). This office acknowledges this privacy interest. See Open Records Decision Nos. 616 (1993), 565 (1990). Therefore, where a request seeks a compilation of an individual's law enforcement records, those records which indicate that the individual was arrested or was a suspect are protected by the common law right of privacy. We find that here the requestor is seeking a compilation of another individual's law enforcement records. That compilation must be withheld.
We have marked the submitted materials to indicate the information which must be withheld under section 552.101. The remaining information must be released.
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).
Michael Jay Burns
Ref: ID# 138179
Encl Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Dan Beaty
1. The submitted materials also include information about the medical condition of the child of the requestor. We do not consider release of this information to this requestor to be prohibited by the Public Information Act. See eg. Gov't Code 552.023. If this information is subsequently requested by another requestor, the department should submit another request for decision regarding this information.