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Jones v. Drug Enforcement Administration

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

March 20, 2015

TORRANCE JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, Defendant

TORRANCE JONES, Plaintiff, Pro se, Montgomery, AL.

For DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, Defendant: Rafique Omar Anderson, Robert N. Englund, LEAD ATTORNEYS, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

TANYA S. CHUTKAN, United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 18. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

In April 1996, plaintiff was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. Complaint (" Compl." ) at 2. A jury found plaintiff guilty on all counts. Id.; see United States v. Jones, 165 F.3d 912 (4th Cir. 1998) (per curiam) (Table), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1126, 119 S.Ct. 1784, 143 L.Ed.2d 812 (1999).

Plaintiff brings this action under the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ), see 5 U.S.C. § 552a, and demands the release of records maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration (" DEA" ). Specifically, plaintiff seeks " statements that [Assistant United States Attorney] Christine Hamilton and Raleigh Police Detectives Kennon and A.J. Wisniewski gained during interviews in United States v. Torrance Jones, Case No. 5:96-CR-1-BO." Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 18-1 (" Def.'s Mem." ), Declaration of William C. Little, Jr., ECF No. 18-2 (" First Little Decl." ), Exhibit (" Ex." ) A (Freedom of Information and Privacy Act [Request] dated May 29, 2010). He identifies the statements as follows:

Richard Mann on May 15, 1996; Michael Rubel on July 29, 1996;
Ricky Draper on September 15, 1996; Bernard Sinclair on September 15, 1996;
Daniel Dunning on July 29, 1996; and Brian Eversole on July 29, 1996.

First Little Decl., Ex. A. According to plaintiff, the DEA has no valid reason for withholding the statements of Mann, Rubel, Draper, Sinclair, Dunning and Eversole because these " statements were testified to during [p]laintiff's trial and sentencing hearing," and thus already " have been released into the public domain through judicial proceedings." Compl. at 5.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment in a FOIA Case

Defendant moves for summary judgment, see Def.'s Mem. at 2, arguing that it conducted an adequate search for records responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request, see generally id. at 6-11, even if the search did not yield records related to Mann, ...


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