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Taplin ex rel. Lacaze v. DOJ, No. 12-1815, 2013 WL 4804490 (D.D.C. Sept. 10, 2013) (Contreras, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning third party whom plaintiff asserts actually perpetrated the crime for which plaintiff's client was convicted Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
  • Exemption 7(C), The "Glomar" Response:  The court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.  The court first notes that, because this is a Glomar issue, the interests to be balanced at this stage are not the private and public interests in the documents themselves, but rather the interests in having [defendant] acknowledge that it possesses responsive documents."  The court then finds that, "[the third party's] privacy interest exists in a diminished capacity."  The court explains that, "[w]hile it is the law of this circuit that another agency's disclosure cannot altogether preclude [defendant] from asserting a Glomar response, the rule does not speak to the much narrower issue of whether such a disclosure can diminish a third party's privacy interest for purposes of Exemption 7(C)."  The court notes that, "[i]n view of the police report documenting [the third party's] supposed admission that he killed a New Orleans police officer, and the sentencing judge's damning statements about the threat [the third party] poses to society, it is not clear that [a defendant] admission that it has records concerning [the third party] would 'engender comment and speculation and carr[y] a stigmatizing connotation' far beyond that which already exists."  However, the court finds that, "[plaintiff] has not presented cause for a reasonable person to believe that the documents would have anything to do with the [] murders rather than [the third party's] other crimes."  Therefore, "[t]he evidentiary threshold is not satisfied in this case."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 7(C)
Updated August 6, 2014