LEACH, C. J.
A proper resolution of the issues involved herein requires a careful analysis of the somewhat loosely drafted R. C. Chapter 1347 and R. C. 149.43. This task is complicated by an absence of any attempt by the
R. C. 149.43 reads, in pertinent part:
"* * * `public record' means any record required to be kept by any governmental unit * * * except records pertaining to physical or psychiatric examination * * *, and records the release of which is prohibited by state or federal law." (Emphasis added.) In Dayton Newspapers this court stated in the syllabus that "[a] record is `required to be kept' by a governmental unit, within the meaning of R. C. 149.43, where the unit's keeping of such record is necessary to the unit's execution of its duties and responsibilities." At pages 108 and 109 in the opinion, a "public record" was described as "any record which but for its keeping the governmental unit could not carry out its duties and responsibilities * * *."
Appellee newspaper maintains that since all the "records"
We disagree with appellee's contention that this court's decision in Dayton Newspapers impels that all information contained in the records in question must be made public. R. C. 149.43 must be read in pari materia with R. C. Chapter 1347.
The newspaper contends, in effect, that any information kept by a public agency which falls within the broad interpretation of the words "public record" as defined in Dayton Newspapers, supra, must be made available for public inspection and copying, and that everything within Dayton Newspapers' definition is exempt from the reach of R. C. Chapter 1347. To reach this result appellee apparently relies upon R. C. 1347.04(B), which states, in relevant part:
"The provisions of Chapter 1347 of the Revised Code
The court rejects this contention. If accepted by this court it would completely negate the legislative intent behind the enactment of R. C. Chapter 1347. A basic purpose of this Act is to protect the individual's rights to privacy with regard to public record keeping. Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 99 of the 111th General Assembly, codified as R. C. Chapter 1347, states in its preamble that its objective is to "regulate the use of personal information by state and local governments * * * and to protect the privacy of individuals from excessive record keeping by government."
R. C. 149.43 states that all public records must be disclosed "except * * * records the release of which is prohibited by state * * * law." R. C. Chapter 1347 is the later expression of legislative will. R. C. 149.43, and the cases which have construed that section, cannot be read without reference to provisions in R. C. Chapter 1347, which may affect its heretofore broad reach. Thus, any prohibition in R. C. Chapter 1347 concerning the use of personal information contained in an otherwise "public record" necessarily modifies the scope of R. C. 149.43 in that the release of certain information is now in violation of state law.
Further, this court has consistently held that a syllabus must be read with reference to the facts thereof. State v. Nickles (1953), 159 Ohio St. 353; Baltimore & Ohio Rd. Co. v. Baillie (1925), 112 Ohio St. 567; cf. DeLozier v. Sommer (1974), 38 Ohio St.2d 268. When the rule enunciated in Dayton Newspapers, supra, is read in light of the factual issue there at bar, a jail log, the more narrow reach of that holding becomes apparent. The specific issue which the court addressed was an interpretation of the phrase in R. C. 149.43, "required to be kept." Questions as to the "right of privacy" and whether investigative reports of law enforcement agencies were subject to compulsory disclosure
In addressing the issue of whether the Court of Appeals erred when it ordered that the Wooster Community Hospital admission and discharge records be made available for public inspection, it should be pointed out that the issue of an individual's right of privacy regarding personal information kept in otherwise public records is properly before this court for the first time.
This court, therefore, must weigh the public's right to know, as codified in R. C. 149.43, against the individual's right of personal privacy, codified in R. C. Chapter 1347. We believe that in resolving these conflicting interests a balancing test between the individual's right of privacy and the preservation of the public's right to know must
In weighing these factors, however, doubt as to whether disclosure is proper should be resolved in favor of disclosure of "public records." Dayton Newspapers, supra (45 Ohio St.2d 107, at page 110); State, ex rel. Patterson, v. Ayers (1960), 171 Ohio St. 639.
After weighing these factors, this court finds that the Wooster Community Hospital admission and discharge records are subject to compulsory disclosure. Any possible invasion of privacy is comparatively slight. The information sought includes only the name and address of the patient and the fact of admission and discharge.
In considering whether the Court of Appeals was correct in finding that the Wooster police (and other law enforcement) investigative records must be disclosed, R. C. 149.43 and R. C. Chapter 1347 must be similarly construed. To this end, R. C. 1347.08 is particularly instructive. It provides that upon proper request an individual about whom personal information is kept has the right to be informed of the existence of such information and the types of uses that are made of it. R. C. 1347.08(F), as amended effective August 26, 1977, however, states:
"This section does not allow a person to have access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil or criminal action or proceeding." (Emphasis added.) The newspaper contends that it should have access to all records whether or not they contain information of an investigatory nature. The court reads R. C. 1347.08 as prohibiting access to public records dealing with law enforcement investigations. Inasmuch as that section prohibits the individual being investigated from obtaining access, we find that the General Assembly clearly intended that the general public also be precluded from access.
The decision of the Court of Appeals is, therefore, affirmed with respect to compulsory disclosure of the records discussed under Part II hereof, and reversed as to those records discussed in Part III.
Judgment affirmed in part and reversed in part.,
HERBERT, CELEBREZZE, W. BROWN, P. BROWN, SWEENEY and LOCHER, JJ., concur.
"Any document, device, or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of any public office of the state or its political subdivisions which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office, is a record within the meaning of sections 149.31 to 149.44 * * *."
Based upon this definition, the exhibits are "records" as contained in R. C. 149.43. The issue here is whether R. C. 149.43 requires that they be made available for public inspection and copying.
Chief Justice O'Neill, writing for a unanimous court in State, ex rel. Beacon Journal Pub. Co., v. Andrews (1976), 48 Ohio St.2d 283, rejected the assertion that certain provisions of R. C. Chapter 1347 were in direct conflict with R. C. 149.43, and that R. C. Chapter 1347 prevailed under the facts of that case, since R. C. Chapter 1347 would not take effect until January 1, 1977.
The issue of personal privacy was not before this court in Dayton Newspapers, supra (45 Ohio St.2d 107). That case dealt only with the issue of whether a "jail log" kept at the municipal jail was a "public record."