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Texas Grand Jury Information, Prisoners' Record Requests Statutorily Denied

Texas State pro se prisoner Alvin Harrison appealed the dismissal of his petition for a writ of mandamus regarding the 1997 denial of his request for grand jury documents involved in his conviction. Dismissal was affirmed because grand jury documents are statutorily exempt from disclosure and because prisoners have no statutory right to document requests in Texas.

Harrison claimed that the disclosure was mandatory pursuant to the Texas Open Records Act. He filed a motion to compel the production of grand juror and witness names as well as his confessions. The court granted the District Attorney's (DA) motion to dismiss his action as frivolous because grand jury information is exempt and no right to production was mandated.

On appeal, the Fifth District for the Court of Appeals of Texas at Dallas held that the statutory provisions were plain and prevented the action for lack of lawful basis. See: Harrison v. Vance, 34 S.W.3d 660 (Texas App. 2000).

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Related legal case

Harrison v. Vance