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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Open Records 4

August 1, I received the HPD's reply to my open records request. They  sent the police report I requested to the Attorney General's office, along with a letter explaining why they believe it is "excepted from public disclosure". They will probably notify the plaintiff's family that someone is looking to get the police report.To me they sent a copy of their arguments, but not a copy of the report (obviously).

The first part of their letter cites section 552.101 of the Government Code, and 261.201 of the Family code. This is another piece of information that Miss Curious could have given me during our conversation.
I expected them to make an argument that the information is confidential. It's not any more, it's been made public by the courts, But I knew they'd try. If they want to cover their asses, they are allowed to just redact (line out) the identifying information.

The second part of their letter is what really interests me. Here's what they said:

"...if a re-trial is ordered by the appeals court, release of Exhibit 2 would compromise the criminal investigation by revealing HPD's methods for gathering investigative facts in this incident."

Let's dissect this bit by bit; maybe I'm reading too much into this, maybe not. First of all, the 'methods' they are hiding are specific to "this incident". That means that they're not worried about protecting some super-secret technique that they use everyday to get information. They are concealing the particular methods that they used in Coy vs texas.

"...gathering investigative facts". What facts are these? I'm guessing they are talking about witness statements, since as far as we know, no DNA was taken.

"...compromise the criminal investigation". If the facts were gathered by the book, how could it compromise the investigation? Wouldn't they want every aspect of their investigation to be held up to the light and admired as an example of stellar police intelligence-gathering?

What are they hiding? What did they do that might threaten the integrity of their case if it's made public? Were these investigative methods presented at trial?
The eight women that are mentioned so frequently in the news articles were not even presented to the court until AFTER the guilty verdict had been issued...They were called in to convince the Jury to give him as much prison time as possible. As I understand it, none of their claims would have to be proven, they just had to sound convincing.

Heidi Ruiz, the investigative officer, traveled to San Antonio to interview an alleged victim about the case. This individual had already been interviewed by the DA's office and "failed to disclose any sexual abuse".  But when Officer Ruiz showed up, she got the woman to 'reveal details' about the supposed offense. My question is, what methods did she use to get the woman to 'reveal' her 'details'? Was there another officer present to confirm her methods, or was it just one officer against one potential witness?

I sent my response to these arguments to the AG's office. I tried to address each point, and also to be brief. Maybe they'll grant my request, maybe not. But I'm hoping that whatever is in that report that the HPD is hiding will make someone at the AG's office say "That's fucked up. Maybe we should investigate."
Cross your fingers, and if you want to send a letter to the AG's office in support of Carlos Coy, the address is below.

Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548

I started this to find out what physical evidence they had against Carlos Coy, but now I really want to see these 'investigative methods' laid bare. Odds are if that's what they are protecting, then that's where Coy's freedom lays.



Anonymous said...

say man, I want to send a letter to the AG's office about this, but I dont know what to say. Can u give me a example on what to say. JOSUE

Incandesio said...

Sure; remember, a short letter is better than a long one. Write as much as you feel you want to, but it doesn't have to be any longer than a few sentences.

To the Honorable Greg Abbott
I'm writing about the case of Carlos Coy, TDCJ #01110642.
I feel his trial was unfair and would like your office to look into it, or release the HPD records so that citizens can review them.

You could add that although you don't write many letters, this issue is important enough that you did.
You could put a specific reason as to why you disagree with the verdict, what went wrong at the trial, or why you care about Carlos Coy, but that's all you really need. It's short and to the point.
I've heard that for every letter a politician receives, they figure 150 people think the same way but didn't bother to write.
I hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

awwready man. Thanks for the hook up and thanks for all your hard work on this. I will make sure my voice will be heard on this issue by mailing a letter. FREE S.P.M.


Incandesio said...

I really appreciate you taking the time to write. Every letter helps!