Adionser v. DOJ, No. 10-27, 2014 WL 1284804 (D.D.C. Mar. 28, 2014) (Leon, J.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Adionser v. DOJ, No. 10-27, 2014 WL 1284804 (D.D.C. Mar. 28, 2014) (Leon, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff's drug convictions

Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 7(C):  The court "find[s] that the DEA correctly invoked Exemption 7(C)."  The court relates that "[t]he information relates to 'witnesses, suspects, criminal associates, non-implicated individuals, and law enforcement officers and support personnel,' . . . and it includes their addresses, financial account information, birth dates, Social Security Numbers, and driver's license numbers."  The court finds that "[p]laintiff has not asserted any public interest substantial enough to outweigh the grave privacy and safety concerns implicated by his request for this information."
  • Exemption 7(D):  The court holds that "DEA properly withheld information pursuant to Exemption 7(D)."  The court finds that "[s]ome of the informants were '[c]oded informants ... who have a continuing cooperative association, by signed written agreement, with the DEA,' under which 'they are expressly assured confidentiality in their identities and the information they provide.'"  "Others received implied assurances of confidentiality."  The court also notes that "[p]laintiff was convicted of heroin distribution, and 'any individuals who provided information about the plaintiff or his associates would fear for their safety if their identities or the information they provided were revealed because violence is inherent in the trade in illicit substances.'"
  • Exemption 7(E):  The court "grant[s] summary judgment in the DEA's favor on Exemption 7(E)."  The court explains that "G–DEP codes were the only things withheld under Exemption 7(E)" and "plaintiff now says 'he is not interested in any G–DEP codes.'"  Additionally, the court notes that "plaintiff does not seriously challenge the DEA's assertion that further disclosure of the codes 'would disclose techniques[,] procedures ... [and] guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions' that 'could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.'"
  • Exemption 7(F):  The court holds that "[p]laintiff has not identified any public interest sufficient to outweigh the DEA's concern for personal safety, so once again, [the court] find[s] that the DEA properly applied Exemption 7(F) in this case."  The court finds that "law enforcement personnel—or, in the case of confidential informers, civilians who aided law enforcement in a drug-related case—. . . would be put at risk of violence if their identities became public."
  • Litigation Considerations, "Reasonably Segregable" Requirements:  The court finds that "DEA has met this requirement."  The court notes that defendant "'provided [plaintiff] with a comprehensive Vaughn index, describing each document withheld, as well as the exemption under which it was withheld,' in addition to 'a supplemental affidavit ... further address[ing] the issue of segregability.'"  Additionally, the court finds "no evidence of bad faith or other wrongdoing on the part of the DEA."


District Court
Exemption 7C
Exemption 7D
Exemption 7E
Exemption 7F
Litigation Considerations
Updated August 22, 2014