|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
September 22, 2000
Mr. Charles M. Allen, II
Dear Mr. Allen:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 139335.
The Richardson Police Department (the "department") received a written request for information pertaining to a registered sex offender who resides in the requestor's neighborhood. You inquire whether the requested information is subject to public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code.
Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure governs the "Sex Offender Registration Program." Under chapter 62, each sex offender with a "reportable conviction or adjudication"(1) is required by law to register with the appropriate "local law enforcement authority": the chief of police of the municipality in which the registrant resides or intends to reside for more than seven days or, if the registrant does not reside or intend to reside in a municipality, the sheriff of the county in which the registrant resides or intends to reside for more than seven days. Id. art. 62.02(a).
Article 62.02(b) requires that the following information be included in the registration form:
(1) the person's full name, each alias, date of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye color, hair color, social security number, driver's license number, shoe size, and home address;
(2) a photograph of the person and a complete set of the person's fingerprints;
(3) the type of offense the person was convicted of, the age of the victim, the date of conviction, and the punishment received;
(4) an indication as to whether the person is discharged, paroled, or released on juvenile probation, community supervision, or mandatory supervision; and
(5) any other information required by the department.
After the sex offender verifies the registration information in the hands of the local law enforcement authority, the authority must then forward a copy of the registration form to the Department of Public Safety, where the information is entered into a computerized central database. Id. arts. 62.02(c), 62.08(a). Article 62.08(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides:
The information contained in the database is public information, with the exception of any information:
(1) regarding the person's social security number, driver's license number, or telephone number;
(2) that is required by the [Department of Public Safety] under Article 62.02(b)(5); or
(3) that would identify the victim of the offense for which the person is subject to registration.
Article 62.08(c) governs the release of registration information held by the local law enforcement authority, and provides that "[a] local law enforcement authority shall release public information described under Subsection (b) to any person who submits to the authority a written request for the information." Accordingly, we conclude that the department must release only the following categories of information from the registration materials to the requestor: the registrant's full name, each alias, date of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye color, hair color, shoe size, home address, a photograph of the registrant, a complete set of the registrant's fingerprints, the type of offense for which the registrant was convicted, the age of the victim, the date of conviction, the punishment received, and an indication as to whether the registrant is discharged, paroled, or released on juvenile probation, community supervision, or mandatory supervision. See generally Open Records Decision No. 645 (1996). The department must withhold all remaining registration information from the public.
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).
Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to the General Services Commission at 512/475-2497.
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.
Patricia Michels Anderson
Ref: ID# 139335
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Nita Barnett
1. See Code Crim. Proc. art. 62.01(5) (defining "reportable conviction or adjudication").
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