|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
August 25, 2000
Mr. Steven D. Monté
Dear Mr. Monté:
You have asked whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 140151.
The Dallas Police Department received a request for any offense reports regarding two named persons and call sheets for two specified addresses. You state that you will release the call sheets. You claim that the remaining requested information is excepted from public disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code.
Section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 552.101 encompasses common law privacy. Common-law 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. of the South v. Texas Indus. Accident Bd., 540 S.W.2d 668, 685 (Tex. 1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 931 (1977). The type of information considered intimate and embarrassing by the Texas Supreme Court in Industrial Foundation included information 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. We have marked the information in offense report number 0552698-D that you must withhold under common law privacy.
Furthermore, 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). In this instance, the requestor asks for all information concerning two named persons. In this case, we believe that the individuals' right to privacy has been implicated. Thus, where the named individuals are possible suspects, we conclude that you must withhold this information under common law privacy as encompassed by section 552.101 of the Government Code. See id.
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).
Ref.: ID# 140151
Encl. Marked documents
cc: Mr. Scott Smith