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Caston v. Executive Office for the United States Attorneys

August 22, 2008

RUSSELL CASTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendant's Motion to Dismiss Or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

In April 2007, plaintiff submitted a request to the Executive Office for United States Attorneys ("EOUSA"), a component of the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ"), pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), see 5 U.S.C. § 552. Complaint ("Compl.") at 2 ¶ 5. Specifically, plaintiff sought "'clear and legible' copies" of "discovery material that was prepared in [Case No. 3:05CR153LS in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, including] any and 'all' investigation reports, photographs and lab reports." Compl., Ex. A (April 2, 2007 "Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request") at 1. In addition, plaintiff sought:

[A] copy of the letter faxed to [plaintiff's] attorney Sanford Knott from A.U.S.A. David H. Fulcher on or around June 9, 2006. This letter mentions [plaintiff's] name and is related to [plaintiff's] case. This letter will be used as an exhibit in [plaintiff's] 2255 motion.

Id., Ex. A at 2. EOUSA responded to plaintiff's request, assigned FOIA Request #07-1224, as follows:

Pursuant to the Plea Agreement [plaintiff] executed on March 23, 2006, [plaintiff has] waived all rights, whether asserted directly or by a representative, to request or receive from any department or agency of the United States any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including without limitation any records that may be sought under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, or the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a.

Id., Ex. B (May 16, 2007 letter from W.G. Stewart II, Assistant Director, Freedom of Information & Privacy Staff, EOUSA). Its response referred to the plea agreement, which in relevant part stated:

Defendant, knowing and understanding all of the matters aforesaid, including the maximum possible penalty that could be imposed, and being advised of his rights to remain silent, to a trial by jury, to subpoena witnesses on his own behalf, to confront the witnesses against him, and to appeal the conviction and sentence, in exchange for the recommendations and concessions made by the U.S. Attorney's Office in this plea agreement hereby expressly waives . . . all rights, whether asserted directly or by a representative, to request or receive from any department or agency of the United States any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including without limitation any records that may be sought by him or by his representative under the Freedom of Information Act, set forth at Title 5, United States Code, Section 552, or the Privacy Act of 1974, at Title 5, United States Code, Section 552a.

Id., Ex. B (Plea Agreement, Crim. No. 3:05-CR-0153 TSL JCS, filed March 24, 2006) ¶ 12 (emphasis added). Above the signatures of Assistant United States Attorney Dave Fulcher, plaintiff, and plaintiff's defense attorney, Sanford Knott, was the following statement:

DEFENDANT AND HIS ATTORNEY OF RECORD FURTHER DECLARE THAT THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT HAVE BEEN:

1) READ BY OR TO HIM;

2) UNDERSTOOD BY HIM OR EXPLAINED TO HIM BY HIS ...


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