By Amanda Wicks
Randy Travis has fought hard to keep the dashcam footage from his 2012 DWI arrest private even though media outlets have repeatedly cited the Public Information Act in order to secure the tape.
On August 7, 2012, Travis was involved in a one-car accident in Tioga, Texas. Officers found him lying naked in the road with a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit. Former Attorney General Greg Abbott stated the dashcam footage constituted a public record and should be released. But Abbott did say images of Travis from the waist down would be redacted (via Austin American-Statesman).
Travis filed suit, but when state District Judge Stephen Yelenosky sided with Abbott, his lawyers took the case to the state 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin. Travis’ legal team argued that the dashcam footage should remain private not only because it showed his medical and mental conditions, but also because he was acting involuntarily.
The court ruled Thursday (August 18) that the footage does indeed fall under public record. Chief Justice Jeff Rose stated, “Even if we assume that the contents of the redacted dashboard recording contain information that is highly intimate and embarrassing to Travis, those facts were not private as a matter of law because Travis put himself in public by driving unclothed while intoxicated.”
Marty Cirkiel, Travis’ lawyer, intends to appeal the decision. “I don’t think the public has a right to see individuals in the course of a mental health breakdown any more than they have the right to see someone in the course of an operation on their heart, kidney or brain,” he said. “To intrude upon a person who’s discombobulated due to a mental health issue or a concussion, I don’t think the public interest stretches that far.”
If the judges don’t turn over their decision, Travis intends to pursue his case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.