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Randy Travis’ DWI Arrest Dashcam Video to Be Made Public, Judge Rules

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Just over four years after Randy Travis was arrested and charged with DWI in Texas, a state appeals court has ruled that the dashcam video of the country icon’s arrest must be released to the public.

Travis was arrested on Aug. 7, 2012 in Tioga, Texas, after crashing his car. He was also charged with retaliation and obstruction after he allegedly “verbally threatened” a police officer. Travis was reportedly naked at the time of his arrest, which came just before midnight. Travis agreed to plead guilty to driving while intoxicated in exchange for the retaliation and obstruction charges being dropped.

After his arrest, requests were made for his arrest video under the Freedom of Information Act. The country legend filed suit to prevent the video from going public, but a judge sided with then-Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office, which said it was a matter of public interest, so Travis and his attorney appealed to Austin’s 3rd Court of Appeals.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Travis argued that the video is exempt from release under public information laws because it depicts his mental and medical conditions. He also claimed his privacy rights required the video to remain private because his actions were unknowing and involuntary, since he was “exhausted, intoxicated, sleep-deprived, medicated and suffering from a post-collision concussion.”

On Thursday (Aug. 18), Chief Justice Jeff Rose rejected that claim in an opinion he wrote for the three-judge panel, saying the video does not fall within Texas’ medical exemptions, and privacy protections do not apply to actions undertaken in a public place.

“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,” Rose writes. Abbott previously stated that images of Travis naked from the waist down would have to be redacted due to privacy violations.

Travis’ lawyer, Marty Cirkiel, will ask for the judges on the appeals court to reconsider their decision, and if that proves unsuccessful, he plans to appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, arguing that the decision impacts the privacy rights of people with mental health and medical issues.

“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 right to see someone in course of an operation on their heart, kidney or brain,” Cirkiel says. “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.”

Travis is still recovering from a life-threatening stroke that he suffered in July 2013 and reportedly hopes to recover enough to return to his music career eventually.

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