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King v. DHS, No. 20-00995, 2021 WL 3616891 (D.D.C. Aug. 16, 2021) (Nichols, J.)


King v. DHS, No. 20-00995, 2021 WL 3616891 (D.D.C. Aug. 16, 2021) (Nichols, J.)

Re:  Request for audio recording documenting murder related to ICE investigation

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court holds that "ICE has demonstrated that it conducted a reasonable search for the audio recording sought by [plaintiff's] FOIA request."  "Its declarations explain that no responsive records were located during that search."  "They have provided two declarations describing how ICE determined where the relevant records might be located and averred that there were 'no other investigations or matters likely to contain a copy of the recording.'"  "And they have explained why it can no longer locate the audio recording [plaintiff] seeks:  according to [defendant's] policy, the electronic recording should have been destroyed five years after the conclusion of the relevant investigation."  The court relates that "[plaintiff's] only response is that [defendant] should have conducted an electronic search for records."  "He asserts that ICE acknowledged that any responsive recording would be electronic in nature, . . . and therefore the search was plainly inadequate because [defendant] never searched for electronic records . . . ."  The court relates that "[defendant] clarified its reasons for limiting its search to the archived files in a second declaration."  "It explained that, although the audio recording itself was made through electronic means, the record would have been stored on an external storage device (such as an audio tape or CD) retained in the physical investigative file."  The court finds that "Defendants' explanation is sufficient."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Updated September 8, 2021