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Texas Attorney General Determines Documents' Exemption After Use of Force Against Prisoner

The Office of the Attorney General (AG) for the State of Texas opined the legal parameters regarding the release of investigative records and polygraph procedures used for testing employees of the Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). This information request followed an incident involving the use of force against a prisoner by the TDCJ. The AG's opinion is in accordance with the Texas Government Code and Open Records Decision No. 664 (2000).

The TDCJ was asked to produce investigative documents compiled in DIG Case No. UF20314202CM as well as their policies and procedures of polygraph testing. The AG determined that some requested documents were medical records of which the release was governed by the Medical Practice Act (MPA). Pursuant to the MPA, any patient's treatment, evaluation and diagnosis, or identity, produced or possessed by a physician is exempt from disclosure. Any documents obtained under confidentiality are only discloseable if in regard to the disclosure's initial intent or upon written consent by the patient but only pursuant to the MPA. It was determined that any information acquired or possessed by the TDCJ pertaining to its confined prisoners or it's departmental policies and procedures was exempt from disclosure. The AG held that only the incident's basic information was discloseable and that the TDCJ had 10 calendar days to either release the nonexempt documents, provide a date of intended compliance in accordance with the AG's opinion, ornotify the requestor of any intent to contest the holding in court. The AG furthercautioned that any production costs remain within legal guidelines. See: In re Office of The Attorney General of the State of Texas, 2003 Tex. AG. Lexis 7052.

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Related legal case

In re Office of The Attorney General of the State of Texas