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Woods v. United States Department of Justice

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 12, 2013

REGINALD WOODS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant

Page 116

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 117

REGINALD WOODS, Plaintiff, Pro se, TALLADEGA, AL.

For DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, (FBI), Defendant: Mary Elizabeth Stratton, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 118

EMMET G. SULLIVAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff challenges the Department of Justice's (" DOJ" ) response to his request for records under the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ), 5 U.S.C. § 552. Defendant, having released responsive records, moves for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 10], and plaintiff has opposed the motion, Pl.'s Response to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. (" Pl.'s Opp'n" ) [Dkt. # 13]. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions and the entire record, the Court will grant defendant's motion and enter judgment accordingly.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a federal prisoner serving a 960-month prison sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in November 1997 following convictions for carjacking, four counts of bank robbery, and four counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence. See Woods v. Rathman, No. 1:12-cv-2855,

Page 119

2013 WL 1346373, at * 1 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 14, 2013). In a FOIA request dated December 28, 2009, to the " Dept. of Justice FBI Crime Lab," plaintiff sought the following six categories of records or information pertaining to his criminal case: (1) the " field notes" of an FBI Special Agent; (2) the " exact dates that all specimens were collected for DNA analysis; " (3) " How many times were related DNA specimens tested [] and to whom where those results disclosed?" ; (4) " surveillance photos or videos of 'Talladega' robbery related to DNA results; " (5) witness statements and police reports related to said Talladega robbery; and (6) the " [e]xact dates DNA analysis results were disclosed and to whom were they disclosed." Decl. of David M. Hardy [Dkt. # 10-3], Ex. A. On January 15, 2010, the FBI informed plaintiff that it was returning his request because it needed " sufficient information to conduct an accurate search of the Central Records System." Id., Ex. B. On January 24, 2010, plaintiff responded with a " Clarification of Requested Information," in which he stated, inter alia, that the request " is related to a FBI crime lab report prepared on October 8, 1997 by F. Samuel Baechtel, where DNA analysis was performed on a white-ski-mask found in an abandoned get-away-car and was used . . . as government's exhibit # 44 [during the criminal trial]." Id., Ex. C.

On April 25, 2011, the FBI informed plaintiff that it was releasing 55 pages it had reviewed with portions redacted from 28 of those pages under FOIA exemptions 6 and 7(C), see 5 U.S.C. § 552(b), and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(j)(2). Id. ¶ ¶ 4-5 & Ex. F. The letter also informed plaintiff about his right to appeal the decision to DOJ's Office of Information Policy (" OIP" ). OIP affirmed the ...


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