Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Worldnetdaily.com, Inc. v. DOJ, No. 15-0549, 2016 WL 6126264 (D.D.C. Oct. 19, 2016) (Jackson, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning 2013 fatal shooting
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Exemption 5, Deliberative Process Privilege: "Upon [in camera] review of the document [at issue], the Court concludes that it is unambiguously predecisional and deliberative in nature." "Therefore, it is protected by the deliberative process privilege, and defendant's motion for summary judgment will be granted." The court explains that "[t]he memorandum conveys the recommendation of two Assistant United States Attorneys . . . to their supervisors within the U.S. Attorney's Office that the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia should decline to prosecute the officers involved in the . . . shooting, and it lays out the evidence and analysis upon which that recommendation is based." "Such documents have routinely been found to be exempt from disclosure under FOIA." Responding to plaintiff's arguments, "the Court's review of the document reveals that plaintiff is incorrect: the Declination Memo does not reflect a determination to decline to prosecute, but a recommendation that the United States Attorney decline to do so, along with the evidence and analysis supporting that recommendation." The court also finds that "[d]isclosure of that analysis could 'actually inhibit candor in the decision-making process if made available to the public.'" Finally, "the Court's review of the Declination Memo has persuaded it that no portion of the document can be reasonably segregated or released with redactions."
Updated February 14, 2017