A woman from the Houston Police Department's Open Records Unit contacted me the next day, telling me that she could not release the records to me because the case was dismissed. Uh, what the FUCK? The Coy family might be a little surprised to hear that. So I argued (nicely) with her, explaining that, while all of the indictments filed in 2002 were dismissed, the 2001 investigation eventually led to his conviction.
She couldn't seem to find it, she kept pulling up files and telling me that they had been dismissed, and asking me if I had the 'Incident Report Number'.
Still don't have it.
If I had it, I would have SENT it.
Finally I pulled up documents at the Harris County District Clerk's website and just started reading her numbers from the different documents available from Coy vs Texas. We finally established that the 'Incident Report' number was listed under 'O/R' number, and I found the right one. She told me that I would have to resubmit my request with the correct number. Even though she had the correct file, in front of her, that matched the information I had sent. Even though my request had been re-opened the day before and was presumably still legal and active.
This pissed me off a little. I had done everything they asked, and done it right. They were the ones that couldn't seem to type names or numbers correctly, or tell the difference between 'police reports from 2001' and 'indictments from 2002', but now I have to wait an additional 10 business days for the information that, as far as I can tell, they are required BY LAW to give me.
Don't get me wrong, I applaud the Open Records Unit for getting back with me very quickly, exactly when they said they would. I appreciate this lady taking the time to find the correct file. At this time, it appeared that once I got my request through the maze of the Open Records Unit, I would be able to get the file. Still I was surprised that this woman, who finds files for a living, couldn't seem to locate the one I asked for until I made it clear that I was going to keep talking to her until she found it.
But fine, I can wait. I resubmitted my request, with all the previous information plus the new incident number at around 10:30 am. I had received no confirmation email by 4:50 pm, so I called the Open Records Unit. I spoke to a woman who said that although they had received my email, they would not begin processing it until the next day, which is when I would receive my second confirmation email. Even though I had sent it two hours earlier in the business day than my first request, which was processed immediately.
It was at this point that I began to wonder if someone wasn't stalling me. It's not like Coy vs Texas happened quietly, so somebody down there knows exactly which file I want, but it felt like they were trying to discourage me from getting it by dragging their feet, working as slowly as possible and throwing stupid little obstacles (like typos) in front of me, to see if I would bother to pursue my request.
Thursday's post: Shit just can't be easy.