Guidance on Telephonic Hearings

Matthew Hoppock filed this request with the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2018-51735

Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Matthew Hoppock


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

The records from January 1, 2018 to the the date this request is processed reflecting the agency's guidance to IJs about whether and when to permit an attorney to appear via telephone.

The search should include any e-mail messages sent to any of the following: (1) All_of_Judges@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV; (2) the EOIR e-mail address for Immigration Judge Rebecca Holt, the EOIR e-mail address for Immigration Judge Vernon Miles; or the EOIR e-mail address for Immigration Judge Angela Munson. This should include messages where any of these four recipients is listed in the "to," "cc," or "bcc" fields.

The keywords to search for are "telephonic" or "by telephone"

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Matthew Hoppock

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Matthew, a search was initiated, and we await results. Wr/JRS

From: Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Please see FOIA response attached.

Wr/
Joseph R. Schaaf
Chief Counsel, Administrative Law
Executive Office for Immigration Review

From: Matthew Hoppock

Thank you!

Matthew Hoppock

From: Matthew Hoppock

This is an appeal related to FOIA Case No. 2018-51735

First, the agency did not search for what we requested. Instead, it appears the agency took its response to FOIA Case No. 2018-51756 and 2018-51805 (both of which were requested after mine) and sent that to us. The agency issued an identical response to both those requests. But these three requests asked for different things. And my request in particular asked for none of what was actually produced. That seems to indicate the agency didn't actually search for what we asked for.

Second, the agency's response makes it clear it is allowing e-mail custodians search their own e-mail messages and produce them to the FOIA officer. That is unlawful. It encourages e-mail custodians to delete, edit, or withhold documents and gives the agency no ability to supervise the collection process.

Third, the e-mail messages response makes it appear the custodian edited it before turning it over to the FOIA officer. It contains an e-mail message and then a response that purports to have been sent 20 minutes earlier than the original message was sent. The explanation is not "time zones." The responding e-mailer is in Atlanta, an hour ahead rather than behind the original sender. If time zones were a factor the response would have necessarily been at least an hour later than the original sender given that Atlanta is an hour ahead of Memphis.

Fourth, the request does not respond to our request, which asked for the following:

The records from January 1, 2018 to the the date this request is processed reflecting the agency's guidance to IJs about whether and when to permit an attorney to appear via telephone, which was supposed to specifically include e-mail messages sent to any of the following: (1) All_of_Judges@EOIR.USDOJ.GOV; (2) the EOIR e-mail address for Immigration Judge Rebecca Holt, the EOIR e-mail address for Immigration Judge Vernon Miles; or the EOIR e-mail address for Immigration Judge Angela Munson. This should include messages where any of these four recipients is listed in the "to," "cc," or "bcc" fields. The keywords to search for are "telephonic" or "by telephone"

The agency produced a portion of the Immigration Court practice manual and an apparently-edited e-mail change between ACIJ Mart and the Memphis Court Administrator Davis. The response does not purport to have withheld any of the records we requested or redacted anything.

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