FOIA Electronic Reading Room
How to Make a Request
Civil Rights Division
4CON CRT/FOIA 6th Floor
950 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552 (2018), and the regulations, any person may request access to Civil Rights Division (CRT) records. https://www.justice.gov/oip/doj-foia-regulations
FOIA requests must be signed and made in writing and may be sent to the above address or submitted electronically via email at CRT.FOIArequests@usdoj.gov. We are able to acknowledge and process requests made electronically more quickly than those made by mail. Requests should include a return address that identifies your street name/number, and an email if applicable, so that we may respond to your request. For further guidance, see the DOJ FOIA regulations under FOIA Guidance.
A FOIA request must sufficiently describe the specific records sought, so as to enable CRT staff to conduct a search for the requested records with a reasonable amount of effort. Likewise, to minimize search and related fees, please specify which CRT Sections you are inquiring about. The various Sections and their weblinks are listed below. Also, to see CRT’s average processing times, please review the FOIA.gov weblink below.
Please note that the Act does not require agencies to "create" or explain records. Requests should thus be formulated so as to seek existing records that can be furnished unless they fall within a specific exemption (e.g., classified national security matters; personal privacy material; investigative files; trade secrets and privileged information; etc.). 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (2018).
PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS & IDENTITY VERIFICATION
If you seek records pertaining to another person, that information is usually not disclosed unless you have obtained the other person's written consent, the other person is deceased, or release is required by law.
A FOIA request generally need not contain a verification of identity for access to publicly available records. However, individuals seeking records protected by the Privacy Act may be required to provide a privacy waiver from the record subject or the like.
For further guidance in this regard, please see the DOJ Office of Information Policy home page.
A requester may be required to pay all applicable fees for search, review, and/or duplication of requested records, in accordance with Department of Justice FOIA regulations (28 C.F.R. § 16.10).
No fees will be charged if there is a total fee calculation of $25 or less. (28 C.F.R. § 16.10(d)(5)). If we estimate that fees may exceed $25 after reviewing your request, you will be so notified in accordance with 28 C.F.R. § 16.10(e).
INITIAL REQUEST DETERMINATIONS
Once CRT staff has processed your request and any fee issues have been resolved, CRT staff will send you a written initial determination. The FOIA provides access to federal agency records, or portions of those records, except to the extent those records are protected by any of the FOIA's nine exemptions or three law enforcement exclusions. The determination letter will advise you of whether any information is being withheld pursuant to one or more of the exemptions. Where a page of a record is being withheld in part, the withheld portions of the page ordinarily will be specifically marked with the applicable exemptions.
The FOIA's nine exemptions authorize federal agencies to withhold information covering: (1) classified national defense and foreign relations information; (2) internal agency rules and practices; (3) information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law; (4) trade secrets and other confidential commercial or financial information; (5) inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges; (6) information involving matters of personal privacy; (7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of and/or information provided by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual; (8) information relating to the supervision of financial institutions; and (9) geological information on wells. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (2018).
Frequently Requested Documents
- Civil Rights Division Highlights: 2009 – 2017 (pdf)
- The Civil Rights Division's Accomplishments
- The Civil Rights Division's Pattern and Practic Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
- Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act (“Emmett Till Act”) Cold Case Closing Memoranda
- Fact Sheet: Defending the Rights of LGBT Americans pdf Word
- Historical Documents (Civil Rights Division Documents from Boston JFK Library Collection)
- Title I Settlement Agreements and Court Documents
- Transcripts from State of North Carolina v. Benjamin Franklin Chavis, Marvin Patrick, Connie Tyndall, et. al (also known as the "The Wilmington Ten Case")
- Trial Transcripts from United States v. Price, et al. (also known as the "Mississippi Burning" incident)
- U.S. v. Days Inn
LAWS ENFORCED BY THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION: CRIMINAL JUSTICE; DISABILITIES; EDUCATION; EMPLOYMENT; EQUAL CREDIT; FAIR HOUSING ; IMMIGRATION-RELATED; INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSONS; POLICE MISCONDUCT; PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS; RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES; VETERANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS; VOTING RIGHTS
Policy Statements and Other Significant Guidance and Technical Assistance Letters
Guidance Documents -- These Guidance Documents defined by the Executive Order 13422 and the GGP