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Boyd v. EOUSA, No. 13-1304, 2015 WL 7720461 (D.D.C. Nov. 30, 2015) (Jackson, J.)


Boyd v. EOUSA, No. 13-1304, 2015 WL 7720461 (D.D.C. Nov. 30, 2015) (Jackson, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff's criminal case

Disposition: Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 7, Threshold:  Regarding interview memoranda, "[b]ased on the Court’s in camera review, [the court finds that] it is clear that the documents were compiled for [a law enforcement] purpose because they relate to the criminal investigation and prosecution."
  • Exemption 7(C):  The court finds that interview memoranda were properly withheld.  Concerning the privacy interests at issue, the court finds that "[t]he privacy interests are especially acute in this case because, based on the Court’s in camera review of the records, there is a fair possibility that plaintiff would be able to identify the parties based on other information in the documents, even if their names were redacted."  Concerning the public interest, the court finds that "[t]he interview memoranda at issue . . . contain, at most, 'little or nothing' about the Department of Justice's investigation into the plaintiff" and "do not even seem to shed light on plaintiff’s alleged discovery violations, but even if they did, plaintiff would still not be entitled to them."
  • Procedural Requirements, "Reasonably Segregable" Obligation:  "[T]he Court concludes that there is no segregable material in [the] interview memoranda because the non-exempt portions of document 1 are 'inextricably intertwined' with the identifying information about the witnesses."  "The reports rely on the statements of the witnesses, and even if their names were redacted, plaintiff would likely be able to identify those people."
  • Exemption 3:  First, "[t]he Court has reviewed [a "'Conflict of Interest Certification[]'"] in camera . . . [and] is satisfied that EOUSA has properly withheld this document under the Ethics in Government Act because the document appears to be the kind of confidential financial disclosure report that is protected by [5 U.S.C. app. 4 § 107(a)(2)]."

Second, the court finds that one "page discuss[ing] 'the strategy or direction' of the grand jury’s investigation into plaintiff . . . was properly withheld in full" pursuant to Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, but that "other pages . . . appear to be letters sent among the prosecution team, or between counsel for the government and counsel for plaintiff."  "Those letters were sent well after plaintiff’s indictment, and do not reflect any grand jury material protected by Rule 6(e)."  "Those letters, therefore, should not have been withheld in full."

  • Exemption 5, Attorney Work-Product & Deliberative Process Privilege:  "The Court finds that the proposed redacted P.S. line is not protected under the work-product or deliberative process privileges."  "The request does not reflect the mental processes of the attorney, as the work-product privilege would require, nor does it reflect internal agency decision-making."  "[T]he proposed redaction . . . merely contains a request that the recipients of the letter pass the information it contains to someone else."  "And the government has not proposed that the rest of the same letter, which details the government’s plans to review specific evidence, is protected under the work-product privilege."  "As to the other proposed redactions on other pages of [these] documents . . . and in all other respects, though, the Court agrees with EOUSA that any other redactions of [these] documents . . . were proper."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 3
Exemption 5
Exemption 5, Attorney Work-Product Privilege
Exemption 5, Deliberative Process Privilege
Exemption 7
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7, Threshold
Litigation Considerations, “Reasonably Segregable” Requirements
Updated December 16, 2021