|Submitted||June 29, 2017|
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To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
-Any files related to the investigation into Robert Doggart, who was recently convicted of planning to attack a mosque in New York City.
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.
An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.
The request has been rejected by the agency.
To whom it may concern,
I’m writing to appeal the rejection of FOIA request #1379656-000, which sought files related to the investigation into Robert Doggart, a Tennessee man who was convicted of planning to attack a muslim community in New York State on Feb. 16, 2017.
In a letter dated July 27, 2017, the agency cited statutory exemption b(7)(a) as its reason for withholding the records.
The request was rejected pursuant to U.S.C Section 552(b)(7)(A), which exempts from disclosure "records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
Doggart was sentenced to 235 months in prison on June 14, 2017. The law enforcement proceedings against Mr. Doggart are not longer “pending” or “prospective,” as the charges were brought, the case was prosecuted, and Doggart has been sentenced. Furthermore, the FBI has not articulated how the release of this information might reasonably be expected to cause some kind of harm. Seeing as the investigation, as well as the prosecution of the case are complete, it seems highly unlikely that releasing the requested materials could reasonably be expected to cause any harm.
Solar Sources, Inc. v. United States (7th Circuit, 1998) states that “Exemption 7(a) does not permit the government to withhold all information merely because that information was compiled for law enforcement purposes.” Furthermore, Dickerson v. Department of Justice (6th Circuit, 1993), states that once an investigation is complete, information related to it ought to be disclosed.
Also, Lion Raisins Inc. v. USDA (9th Circuit, 2004) holds that a law enforcement agency must demonstrate not only that there is an ongoing investigation, but must also elucidate specifically how disclosure of the records could reasonably be expected to interfere with an investigation. The agency did not do this in its rejection letter.
This concludes my appeal. If the agency needs clarification please contact me. Thank you.