|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 3, 2000
Mr. Steven D. Monté
Dear Mr. Monté:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 142962.
The Dallas Police Department (the "department") received a request for any reports for any arrest or conviction of a specified individual. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted representative sample of the information at issue.(1)
Section 552.101 excepts from required public disclosure information that is considered confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision. Accordingly, section 552.101 encompasses common law privacy. 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, because the requestor asks for all criminal records of a certain named individual, we believe that this individual's privacy rights have been implicated. Thus, to the extent that the department has records responsive to the request in which the named individual is a possible suspect, the department must withhold this information under section 552.101. 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).
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.
E. Joanna Fitzgerald
Ref: ID# 142962
Encl: Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Price L. Johnson
1. We assume that the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of all of the information at issue. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988), 497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach and, therefore, does not authorize the withholding of any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than those submitted to this office.