of the withheld documents that the person interviewed in the documents gave information to the FBI under an "implied assurance" (or, in one document, an "implied understanding") of confidentiality. See Defs.' Supp. Mot. for Summ. J., Third Declaration of Karlton Bolthouse ("Bolthouse III"), filed Oct. 7, 1993; Moran Decl. Attachs. CI 183C-888-1A3, CI 183C-888-79, CI 183-888-109. As the Supreme Court held in Department of Justice v. Landano, 508 U.S. 165, 113 S. Ct. 2014, 124 L. Ed. 2d 84 (1993), a source need not be given an express assurance of confidentiality to fall within the protections of exemption 7(D); there are "generic circumstances in which an implied assurance of confidentiality fairly can be inferred." Landano, 113 S. Ct. at 2023. "The character of the crime and the source's relation to the crime are relevant factors in determining whether a source spoke to the FBI with an understanding that his cooperation would remain confidential." Williams v. FBI, 69 F.3d 1155, 1159 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (citing Landano, 113 S. Ct. at 2023).
Plaintiff has been indicted in and convicted of the dismemberment murders of at least two people, and he was charged with the murder of a third. In addition, plaintiff has been investigated with respect to his possible involvement in other violent crimes, some of which were in support of the activities of organized criminal entities. Bolthouse III at PP 16-18. The descriptions in the first two DPS's at issue state that the persons interviewed provided such detailed information about plaintiff and his criminal activities that, "if the plaintiff were made aware of the details set forth . . . he would be able to identify the interviewee . . . ." Moran Decl. Attachs. CI 183C-888-1A3, CI 183C-888-79. See also Bolthouse III, at PP 24-26 (noting, inter ilia, that witnesses "would logically fear for their lives . . . if they believed that the information furnished could be linked to them," and that such persons "would logically assume that the agency receiving specific information about plaintiff would not release it).
The Court finds that, with respect to the first two DPS's, the government has shown with specificity that the interviewees had a sufficiently close relationship to plaintiff's crimes (and to plaintiff) to support an implied assurance of confidentiality, and that the government has properly invoked exemption 7(D) as a justification for withholding the documents in question in their entirety. See Williams, 69 F.3d at 1159; Lesar v. United States Dep't of Justice, 204 U.S. App. D.C. 200, 636 F.2d 472, 492 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (once it is established that the information at issue was furnished by a confidential source during the course of a legitimate criminal law investigation, "all such information received from the confidential source receives protection").
With respect to the third DPS, the Court finds that, while the government's description states that the interviewee provided information to the FBI with an "implied understanding of confidentiality," the third DPS falls wholly within exemption 7(C), not 7(D). The only reference to plaintiff in the third DPS is the statement that the interviewee "had met the plaintiff in Columbus, Ohio, on a couple occasions." Moran Decl. Atttach. CI 183C-888-109. The interviewee "denied knowledge of plaintiff's criminal activities" and made no other mention of plaintiff during the interview. Id. Standing alone, the mere fact that the interviewee had met plaintiff once or twice would not serve to cast the interviewee as one who impliedly expected his interview to remain confidential (especially when the interviewee denied knowledge of plaintiff's violent crimes), and the document likely would not be exempt under 7(D). But the interviewee in the third document was interviewed primarily for information about third parties; for example, the interviewee "described the relationship between the plaintiff's associates and the interviewee, as well as described the last time plaintiff had seen those associates." Releasing this document -- especially when the only statement regarding plaintiff was that the interviewee had met him once or twice -- would violate other individuals' right to privacy; the document therefore properly falls within exemption 7(C).
Accordingly, because the Court finds that the first two documents at issue (represented by DPS's CI 183C-888-1A3 and CI 183C-888-79) are properly withheld in their entirety under exemptions 7(C) and 7(D), and because the Court finds that the third document (represented by DPS CI 183C-888-109) is properly withheld in its entirety under exemption 7(C), defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.
Stanley S. Harris
United States District Judge
Date: MAR 15 1996