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IRVING

April 20, 20 I 0

The Honorable Greg Abbott


Attorney General of Texas
209 W. 14th S1.- 6th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701

RE: Public Information Requests - Request for Opinion & Transmittal Letter

Honorable Attorney General:

The Irving Police Department has received requests for information which fall within an
exception, or exceptions, to required disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act. The
Department has withheld that information, and requests an opinion from your office holding that
the information is excepted from mandatory public disclosure. There has been no previous
determination that the requested information falls within one of the exceptions under Subchapter
C of the Act. I

The requests for public information which are included with this correspondence, and marked as
Exhibit A-I, A-2, and A-3, were made lY:
Kyle Prall
Mugly! Newspapers
P. O. Box 91594
Austin, TX 78709

A copy of this letter, without attachme9ts or enclosures, has been sent to the requestor.

The requests for public information are \identical except for the date ranges for which the
information is to be provided. Specifically, the request:

Booking Photos/Mugshots on every individual arrested from (A-I, March 29 - April 4;


A-2, April 5 - April 11; and A-3, April 15 -April 18, 2010), as well as the jail log for the
same time period, and I would l~ke all of the information to be prepared in electronic
format. ... I would like to exclude from the request any juvenile information. Also,
please redact private information, including home address, telephone number, social
security number, and personal dmily information of a peace officer, a corrections officer,
and/or a Irving Police Departmert employee.

These requests were received on April 8,2010, April 12, 2010, and April 18, 2010, the first of
which was within 10 business days of tliis letter requesting an opinion.

The following exceptions apply to the information withheld:


I

Police Department
305 N. O'Connor Road. Irving, Texas 75061.972.721.2600· 972.721.2505 fax > www.cityofirving.org

I
Attorney General Greg Abbott
April 21, 2010
Page 2

Texas Gov't. Code Section 552.101.

Discussion of exceptions:

The position ofthe Attorney General's office relating to requests for mug shots is unclear. In
Informal Letter Ruling No. 0R2008-1S921, 2008 WL 5026331, your office ruled that responsive
documents must be withheld pursuant to common law privacy and Tex. Gov't Code Section
552.101 when a requestor sough incident reports relating to an individual for an 18 month
period, and booking records and a mug shot for a specific date. Similarly, in Informal Letter
Ruling No. 0R201O-02_0ta,2Q10_W_L...542685,your office held that records must be withheld
when the requestor asked fur all records for a named person, and a mug shot 01 that same-~
individual.

Conversely, your office has held that reruests for specific offense reports and mug shots are not
protected by common-law privacy in I~formal Letter Rulings 0R2009-04608 2009WL 1031283
and OR 2008-08844, 2008 WL 2647522.

The distinction between the requests described above is that the first two relate to general
requests and/or compilations, whereas the second two relate to requests for information relating
to a specified event. However, in 0R2008-15921, one of the cases cited where the information
was deemed to be confidential for privacy reasons, the requestor asked for booking records and a
mug shot for a specific date, yet your offIce ruled that it was protected by common-law privacy.

From the above opinions, it appears that the question of whether privacy interests outweigh the
public's right of access is answered by looking at the narrowness and specificity of the request-
general requests for unspecified records are protected by common-law privacy, and specific
requests for a specific case are not. I
However, the opinion which seems most closely on point with the request at issue is 0R2009-
11829, 2009 WL 2633635, in which your office ruled that general requests for all mugshots and
jail logs of every individual arrested during certain time frames could not be denied on the basis
of privacy. The request dealt with in tHis opinion, as with the request at issue in this request for
opinion, appears to be a very generallbtoad request for unspecified information. Indeed, the
requestor cannot even identify any particular suspect or offense. There is no evidence that the
requestor has any legitimate interest in lany particular record that would be responsive, and the
records pertain to people who have only been arrested and identified as a suspect who have yet to
be convicted or even formally charged. Moreover, a request for all jail logs and mug shots for a
period oftime seems to be a request for a "compilation", albeit not a compilation for any
particular individual.

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, '

Attorney General Greg Abbott


April 21, 2010
Page 3

The Irving Police Department asserts that this is in fact a request for unspecified law
enforcement records, and that the privacy interests of those persons unfortunate enough to have
been arrested within random time periods outweigh any generalized interest of a requestor who
cannot even provide any particular name or offense.

A sample mug shot is enclosed as Exhibit B, and the opinions cited above are attached as Exhibit
~. A log of arrestees, with confidential\personal information redacted, is available on the
internet.

For these reasons, the Irving Police Department believes that the release of the information
sought by the requestor would violate the common-law privacy interests of certain arresteed, and
thus should be withheld pursuant to TeX. Gov't Code Section 552.101, and it asks for an opinion
from you so holding.

si¥Jlely,

cL<1""---_
Les Moore
SBN 14359020
Police Legal Adviser
Irving Police Department

LMlsh
I
Ene: Exhibit A (requests for information)
Exhibit B (j3i:~and mug shot) I
Exhibit C (AG opinions)

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