From: Brenda Pitts Bennett
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 1:44 AM
Subject: TDCJ's Request Re: Open Records Requests

I've been meaning to jump in on this Open Records Discussion and just haven't had time.  However, Carl Reynolds' message prompted me to act.

I would discourage everyone from complying with Carl Reynolds' request. According to TDCJ's own Open Records manual [01.01 (rev. 3) dated July 16, 1999] (you should request a copy), the public  (defined as "anyone making a request is the public except for an individual who is incarcrerated inTDCJ, or in a city or county jail) can submit the request to any TDCJ employee (see p. 4 stating "a written request received by anyone in the agency, even if they do not have the records, is a valid request.")

In addition, according to p. 4, section VI, an "open records request" is "any request for public information that is not formal discovery in
litigation."  So, be sure that people know that they do not have to use any special language.  (Although, I suggest they state that they are making the
request pursuant to Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code).

Once the  TDCJ employee receives an ORR, the TDCJ has 10 business days to either produce the requested information OR produce a letter to the
requestor advising that the TDCJ is requesting an Attorney General opinion AND produce a copy of the letter to the Attorney General requesting the opinion.  If the TDCJ fails to meet the 10-day deadline, the requested information is presumed public and the requestor should report TDCJ's
non-compliance to the Open Records Division of the AG's office [Attn:  Manny Ruiz, Investigator, Open Records Division, P.O.Box 12548, Austin, Texas 78711-2548.]  He will send a notice to the TDCJ re: the complaint and telling the TDCJ that "the easiest way to resolve these open records
complaints is top rovide the information that was requested."  TDCJ will then have to produce the requested information or present a compelling
argument to overcome the presumption that the requested information is public.

By asking you to send all of the requests to Box 4004, Carl is trying to organize/collect the Open Records Request for TDCJ's convenience in denying and challenging the requests.  He is not trying to facilitate the dissemination of information.  Remember, he is an Agency man.  His loyalty
is and always will be to the TDCJ and Warden Zeller, et. al.  Don't help TDCJ organize itself to screw us.  On more than one occasion theTDCJ has
failed to properly and timely respond to an ORR and, as a result, had to produce the requested information.  By sending requests to one location,
you'll be helping the TDCJ track the requests, meet its deadlines, and use "form" responses challenging the releasability of the requested information.

I suggest that if anyone wants public information from Warden Zeller, then send the request to Warden Zeller --or Warden Massey or Lt. Bolton or
Officer Jethro for that matter.  I also suggest that the requestors keep evidence that their requests were sent -- either fax the requests or send
them certified mail.   I suspect Carl's Huntsville Office backdates its response letters and its request-for-opinion letters to the AG as the
postmark on the envelopes is always 3-4 days later than the date of the letter.

I will be happy to answer any questions about the Open Records Act (call the Public Information Act;  codified at Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code).  I also have sample requests and sample complaints if you'd like to see them.   I am putting the Public Information Act info at the end of this e-mail.

     ß 552.001. Policy; Construction
     ß 552.002. Definition of Public Information; Media Containing Public Information
     ß 552.003. Definitions
     ß 552.0035. Certain Property Owners' Associations Subject to Law
     ß 552.0035. Access to Information of Judiciary
     ß 552.004. Preservation of Information
     ß 552.005. Effect of Chapter on Scope of Civil Discovery
     ß 552.0055. Subpoena Duces Tecum or Discovery Request
     ß 552.006. Effect of Chapter on Withholding Public Information
     ß 552.007. Voluntary Disclosure of Certain Information When Disclosure Not Required
     ß 552.008. Information for Legislative Purposes
     ß 552.009. Open Records Steering Committee: Advice to Commission; Electronic Availability of Public Information
     ß 552.010. State Governmental Bodies: Fiscal and Other Information Relating to Making Information Accessible
     ß 552.011. Uniformity
     ß 552.021. Availability of Public Information
     ß 552.022. Categories of Public Information; Examples
     ß 552.023. Special Right of Access to Confidential Information
     ß 552.024. Electing to Disclose Address and Telephone Number
     ß 552.025. Tax Rulings and Opinions
     ß 552.026. Education Records
     ß 552.027. Exception: I nformation Available Commercially; Resource Material
     ß 552.028. Request for Information From Incarcerated Individual
     ß 552.029. Right of Access to Certain Information Relating to Inmate of Department of Criminal Justice
     ß 552.101. Exception: Confidential Information
     ß 552.102. Exception: Personnel Information
     ß 552.103. Exception: Litigation or Settlement Negotiations Involving the State or a Political Subdivision
     ß 552.104. Exception: Information Related to Competition or Bidding
     ß 552.105. Exception: Information Related to Location or Price of Property
     ß 552.106. Exception: Certain Legislative Documents
     ß 552.107. Exception: Certain Legal Matters
     ß 552.108 . Exception: Certain Law Enforcement and Prosecutorial Information
     ß 552.109. Exception: Certain Private Communications of an Elected Office Holder
     ß 552.110. Exception: Trade Secrets; Certain Commercial or Financial Information
     ß 552.111. Exception: Agency Memoranda
     ß 552.112. Exception: Certain Information Relating to Regulation of Financial Institutions or Securities
     ß 552.113. Exception: Geological or Geophysical Information
     ß 552.114. Exception: Student Records
     ß 552.115. Exception: Birth and Death Records
     ß 552.116. Exception: Audit Working Papers
     ß 552.117. Exception: Certain Addresses, Telephone Numbers, Social Security Numbers, and Personal Family Information
      ß 552.118. Exception: Official Prescription Form
     ß 552.119. Exception: Photograph of Peace Officer or Certain Security Guards
     ß 552.120. Exception: Certain Rare Books and Original Manuscripts
     ß 552.121. Exception: Certain Documents Held for Historical Research
     ß 552.122. Exception: Test Items
     ß 552.123. Exception: Name of Applicant for Chief Executive Officer of Institution of Higher Education
     ß 552.124. Exception: Records of Library or Library System
     ß 552.125. Exception: Certain Audits
     ß 552.126. Exception: Name of Applicant for Superintendent of Public School District
     ß 552.127. Exception: Personal Information Relating to Participants in Neighborhood Crime Watch Organization
     ß 552.128. Exception: Certain Information Submitted by Potential Vendor or Contractor
     ß 552.129. Motor Vehicle Inspection Information
     ß 552.130. Exception: Motor Vehicle Records
     ß 552.131. Exception: Public Power Utility Competitive Matters
     ß 552.131. Exception: Certain Information Relating to Inmate of Department of Criminal Justice
     ß 552.131. Exception: Economic Development Information
     ß 552.131. Exception: Certain Information Held by School District
     ß 552.132. Exception: Crime Victim Information
     ß 552.201. Identity of Officer for Public Information
     ß 552.202. Department Heads
     ß 552.203. General Duties of Officer for Publi c Information
     ß 552.204. Scope of Responsibility of Officer for Public Information
     ß 552.205. Informing Public of Basic Rights and Responsibilities under this Chapter
     ß 552.221. Application for Public Information; Production of Public Information
     ß 552.222. Permissible Inquiry by Governmental Body to Requestor
     ß 552.223. Uniform Tr eatment of Requests for Information
     ß 552.224. Comfort and Facility
     ß 552.225. Time for Examination
     ß 552.226. Removal of Original Record
     ß 552.227. Research of State Library Holdings Not Required
     ß 552.228. Providing Suitable Copy of Public Information Within Reasonable Time
     ß 552.229. Consent to Release Information Under Special Right of Access
     ß 552.230. Rules of Procedure for Inspection and Copying of Public Information
     ß 552.231. Responding to Requests for Information That Require Programming or Manipulation of Data
     ß 552.232. Responding to Repetitious or Redundant Requests
     ß 552.261. Charge for Providing Copies of Public Information.
     ß 552.2615. Required Itemized Estimate of Charges
     ß 552.262. Rules of the General Services Commission
     ß 552.263. Bond for Payment of Costs or Cash Prepayment for Preparation of Copy Of Public Information
     ß 552.264. Copy of Public Information Requested by Member of Legislature
     ß 552.265. Charge For Certified Record Provided by District or County Cle rk
     ß 552.266. Charge For Copy of Public Information Provided by Municipal Court Clerk
     ß 552.267. Waiver or Reduction of Charge for Providing Copy of Public Information
     ß 552.268. Efficient Use of Public Resources
     ß 552.269. Overcharge or Overpayment for Copy Of Public Information
     ß 552.270. Charge For Government Publication
     ß 552.271. Inspection of Public Information in Paper Record if Copy Not Requested
     ß 552.272. Inspection of Electronic Record if Copy Not Requested
     ß 552.274. Report by State Agency on Cost of Copies
     ß 552.301. Request for Attorney General Decision
     ß 552.302. Failure to make Timely Request for Attorney General Decision; Presumption that In formation is Public
     ß 552.303. Delivery of Requested Information to Attorney General;
                       Disclosure of Requested Information; Attorney General Request for Submission of Additional Information
     ß 552.3035. Disclosure of Requested Information by Attorney General
     ß 552.304. Submission of Public Comments
     ß 552.305. Information Involving Privacy or Property Interests of Third Party
     ß 552.306. Rendition of Attorney General Decision; Issuance of Written Opinion
     ß 552.307. Special Right of Access; Attorney General Decisions
     ß 552.308. Timeliness of Action by United States or Interagency Mail
     ß 552.321. Suit for Writ of Mandamus
     ß 552.3215. Declaratory Judgment or Injunctive Relief
     ß 552.322. Discovery of Information Under Protective Order Pending Final Determination
     ß 552.323. Assessment of Costs of Litigation and Reasonable Attorney Fees
     ß 552.324. Suit by governmental body
     ß 552.325. Parties to Suit Seeking to Withhold Information
     ß 552.326. Failure to Raise Exceptions before Attorney General
     ß 552.351. Destruction, Removal, or Alteration of Public Information
     ß 552.352. Distribution of Confidential Information
     ß 552.353. Failure or Refusal of Officer for Public Information to Provide Access to or Copying of Public Information wrote:

Please read Carl Reynold's message about address for Open Records Requests...


Dear Annette:

I recently received a copy of a message posted on a web site, I'm not sure if it was Lamp of Hope or some other anti-death penalty site.  In any case,
it was urging people to send Open Records requests to TDCJ, and to use the main TDCJ post office box (99) in Huntsville, which receives an enormous quantity of mail.  I would like to encourage any such requestors to use P.O. Box 4004, which will get the requests to my office in Huntsville (zip 77342), where they can be promptly handled. I would appreciate any effort you can expend to get this word out. Thanks,
Carl Reynolds
TDCJ General Counsel
P.O. Box 13084
Austin, TX 78711
512/4 63-9693