THE PUBLIC INFORMATION ACT
As the District Attorney, I believe in open government and transparency. The Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives you the right to access government records; and an officer for public information and the officer’s agent may not ask why you want them. All government information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of information. For instance, information dealing with an ongoing criminal investigation or pending criminal case is typically exempted from disclosure under section 552.108 of the Act.
Procedures to Obtain Information
Submit a request by mail, fax, email or in person.
Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable our office to accurately identify and locate the information requested.
All requests for OPEN RECORDS held by the Office of the 81st Judicial District Attorney should be delivered to the following:
81st Judicial District Attorney’s Office
Attention: ADA William Richmond
1105 A Street
Floresville, Texas 78114
Rights of Requestors
All people who request public information have the right to:
Receive treatment equal to all other requestors.
Receive a statement of estimated charges in advance.
Choose whether to inspect the requested information, receive a copy of the information, or both.
Be notified when the governmental body asks the OAG for a ruling on whether the information may or must be withheld.
Be copied on the governmental body’s written comments to the OAG stating the reason why the stated exceptions apply.
Lodge a complaint with the OAG regarding any improper charges for responding to a public information request.
Lodge a complaint with the OAG or the county attorney or criminal district attorney, as appropriate, regarding any alleged violation of the Act.
Responsibilities of Requestors
All people who request public information have the responsibility to:
Submit a written request according to a governmental body’s reasonable procedures.
Include enough description and detail of the requested information so the governmental body can accurately identify and locate the requested items.
Cooperate with the governmental body’s reasonable requests to clarify the type or amount of information requested.
Respond promptly in writing to all written communications from the governmental body (including any written estimate of charges).
Make a timely payment for all valid charges.
Keep all appointments for inspection of records or for pick-up of copies.
Rights of Governmental Bodies
All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the right to:
Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying information.
Request and receive clarification of vague or overly broad requests.
Request an OAG ruling regarding whether any information may or must be withheld.
Receive timely payment for all copy charges or other charges.
Obtain payment of overdue balances exceeding $100 or obtain a security deposit before processing additional requests from the same requestor.
Request a bond, prepayment or deposit if estimated costs exceed $100 (or, if the governmental body has fewer than 16 employees, $50).
Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies
All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:
Treat all requestors equally.
Complete open records training as required by law.
Be informed of open records laws and educate employees on the requirements of those laws.
Inform the requestor of cost estimates and any changes in the estimates.
Confirm the requestor agrees to pay the costs before incurring the costs.
Provide requested information promptly.
Inform the requestor if the information will not be provided within ten business days and give an estimated date on which it will be provided.
Cooperate with the requestor to schedule reasonable times for inspecting or copying information.
Follow attorney general rules on charges; do not overcharge on any items; do not bill for items that must be provided without charge.
Inform third parties if their proprietary information is being requested from the governmental body.
Inform the requestor when the OAG has been asked to rule on whether information may or must be withheld.
Copy the requestor on written comments submitted to the OAG stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply.
Comply with any OAG ruling on whether an exception applies or file suit against the OAG within 30 days.
Respond in writing to all written communications from the OAG regarding complaints about violations of the Act.
The Public Information Handbook is available on the OAG’s website at http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov. The website also provides access to the following:
Attorney General Opinions dating from 1939 through the present;
All formal Open Records Decisions (ORDs); and
Most informal Open Records letter rulings (ORLs) issued since January 1989.