Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Department of Justice cannot use a blanket privacy withholding to block access to records pertaining to documents related to the shooting of a fleeing drug smuggler.
Judicial Watch had requested the records from the government. The Executive Office for United States Attorneys had said, without doing a document by document review, that they were exempt pursuant to FOIA Exemption 6 and 7(C). Judicial Watch disagreed with this position and sued. The Court agreed with Judicial Watch, explaining that the records would show what the goverment was up to and on balance, without a further examination of each individual document, the public interest outweighed the privacy interests in the information.
The government will now process the records and either release them or provide a detailed justification for withholding the material.