The Campaign For DA

9.01.2015

The Reason Montague County DA Gets To Withhold Records About Shooting

From the AG's office: 


So if there is no prosecution at all, they don't have to release the records? Even when the guy was dead and there could never be a prosecution? There was never an "investigation" which was intended for prosecution and, therefore, there was never an intent to even seek conviction or deferred.

You experts out there: Help the media out. Is there a way to refine the request? Make it to a different agency?  I basically want a request that takes it out of 552.108(a)(2).

Edit: Wait a second. You want to know how that exception the DA is relying on reads: The information does not have to be released if "it is information that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication." Ok, that is the law. But the Attorney General is relying on the DA to honestly represent that the information requested falls within that exception.

There was a dead guy. And a dead dog. Any investigation was not done "for the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Those records were created for this: Let's document what happened on the part of law enforcement as to how we handled this. They weren't created to detect crime, investigate crime, or prosecute crime.

The Messenger needs to amend its request to the DA in this manner: "We request any and all documents in connection with [identify the date and describe the event broadly] that were not created for the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime but were created for any other purpose. If any document contains information which partially falls within and without section 552.108(a)(2) of the Texas Government Code, we request those documents in a form that redacts information protected by  the letter of the Texas Attorney General sent to you on June 24, 2015 regarding our previous request."

Then wait and see if the DA's office says there are no such documents. If they do, don't use the ridiculous remedies available by law under that open records act. Instead, do identical requests to the multiple agencies and offices which certainly possess the same records. (Hard copies, pdf or other computerized formats. Heck, the investigation was will be the focus of a seminar! It involved Montague County, Wise County, and DPS! Those records are everywhere!) I can think of a dozen entities/agencies off the top of my head who will have those records.  And if those records do exist within those entities I'm thinking about, the head of at least one of them will be honest and release them. Then the Messenger has the records AND a huge story of what it took to get them.

And if the head of those agencies and entities reading this know they have records that they would have to turn over, you might want to give the Montague County DA a courtesy call right now.

And here is a thought: Why doesn't the DA just release them?