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Judicial Watch • JW v DOJ Asset Forfeiture complaint 02115

JW v DOJ Asset Forfeiture complaint 02115

JW v DOJ Asset Forfeiture complaint 02115

Page 1: JW v DOJ Asset Forfeiture complaint 02115

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Number of Pages:4

Date Created:October 12, 2017

Date Uploaded to the Library:October 17, 2017

Tags:Forfeiture, 02115, produce, Civil, Pennsylvania, requested, policy, complaint, responsive, defendant, filed, plaintiff, request, document, records, DOJ, FOIA, Washington


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Case 1:17-cv-02115 Document Filed 10/12/17 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street, SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024,
Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT JUSTICE,
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, 20530,
Defendant.
___________________________________
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against Defendant U.S. Department
Justice compel compliance with the Freedom Information Act, U.S.C. 552 FOIA grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges follows:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B)
and U.S.C. 1331.
Venue proper this district pursuant U.S.C. 1391(e).
PARTIES
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. not-for-profit, educational organization
incorporated under the laws the District Columbia and headquartered 425 Third Street
SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024. Plaintiff seeks promote transparency, accountability,
and integrity government and fidelity the rule law. part its mission, Plaintiff
regularly requests records from federal agencies pursuant FOIA. Plaintiff analyzes the
Case 1:17-cv-02115 Document Filed 10/12/17 Page
responses and disseminates its findings and the requested records the American public
inform them about what their government to.
Defendant U.S. Department Justice DOJ agency the United States
Government. Defendant has possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks
access. Defendant headquartered 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, 20530.
STATEMENT FACTS August 17, 2017, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request the DOJ seeking the
following:
All emails discussing addressing potential abuses Civil Asset Forfeiture federal, state, local law enforcement officials necessitating the
safeguards adopted Policy Directive 17-1.
All emails discussing potential additional safeguards considered but not
adopted Policy Directive 17-1, including limits the use Deferred
Prosecution Agreements conjunction with Civil Asset Forfeiture.
The time frame the request was identified January 21, 2017 through August 16, 2017. August 21, 2017, DOJ confirmed writing that Plaintiff request had been
referred the DOJ components most likely have responsive records and designated with
FOIA Control Number CRM-300617469. the filing this Complaint, Defendant has failed to: (i) produce the
requested records demonstrate that the requested records are lawfully exempt from
production; (ii) notify Plaintiff the scope any responsive records Defendant intends
produce withhold and the reasons for any withholdings; (iii) inform Plaintiff that may
appeal any adequately specific, adverse determination.
Case 1:17-cv-02115 Document Filed 10/12/17 Page
COUNT
Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed reason Defendant violation FOIA,
and Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendant compelled comply
with FOIA.
10. trigger FOIA administrative exhaustion requirement, Defendant was
required determine whether comply with Plaintiff requests within thirty (30) business
days receipt. Accordingly, Defendants determinations were due about October 2017,
the latest. minimum, Defendant was required to: (i) gather and review the requested
documents; (ii) determine and communicate Plaintiff the scope any responsive records
Defendant intended produce withhold and the reasons for any withholdings; (iii) inform
Plaintiff that may appeal any adequately specific, adverse determination; and (iv) make the
records available promptly thereafter. See, e.g., Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics
Washington Federal Election Commission, 711 F.3d 180, 188-89 (D.C. Cir. 2013).
11.
Because Defendant failed make substantive, appealable determination
whether comply with Plaintiff request within the time period required FOIA for all
components, Plaintiff deemed have exhausted its administrative remedies. U.S.C.
552(a)(6)(C)(i).
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court: (1) order Defendant
conduct searches for any and all records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request and demonstrate
that employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request; (2) order Defendant produce, date certain, any and all non-
Case 1:17-cv-02115 Document Filed 10/12/17 Page
exempt records Plaintiff FOIA request and Vaughn index any responsive records
withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing withhold any and
all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request; (4) grant Plaintiff award
attorneys fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action pursuant U.S.C.
552(a)(4)(E); and (5) grant Plaintiff such other relief the Court deems just and proper.
Dated: October 12, 2017
Respectfully submitted, Chris Fedeli
Chris Fedeli Bar No. 472919
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
cfedeli@judicialwatch.org
(202) 646-5172
Counsel for Plaintiff