Paracha v. Bush et al

District of Columbia, dcd-1:2004-cv-02022

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting respondents' classified ex parte motion for exception from disclosure, notice of which appears at 547. This is the public version of the memorandum opinion and order referenced in the Court's November 6, 2019 Notice. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on November 4, 2019. (lcplf1)

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UNCLASSIFIED//FOR PUBLIC RELEASE UNITED ST/\ TES DISTRlCT COURT FOR TJ lE DlSTRJCT OF COLUMBIA) SAIFULLAH PARACHA .)) Petitioner.)) V.) Ci"il Ac tion No. 04-2022 (PLf)) DONALD J. TRUMP.~ al..)) Respondents.) ___) MEMORANDUM OPINiON AND ORDER This matter is before the Court on respondents· October 21. 2019 mot ion to exclude 1wo documents fro m the disco,·ery obligations imposed by the Amended Case Msnogernent Order in this matl::r. ~c;!::', JJh No. 219: the Cour ·s May 30. 20 l 9 Memorandum Opinion and Scheduling Order.~~ Dkt No. 51.5: and the Cour! ·s June l2. 20 19 Discovery Order. ill Dkt. No. 517. f{espondcnrs · classifi ed motion is ex pane. iv. ~amera. and under seal; it is n:: tl ec.:tcd in a nn! ice of fi ling on the public docket. See Dkt. No. 54 7. For the reasons described below. respondents' moti on is granted. Section l.D of the Case Management Order. as amended. imposes on respondents an ongoing obligation to disclose to petitioner all reasonably available e:xc ulpatory informa1ion: Section I.E. imposes obligations lo disclose certain other documents when requested by petitioner. ~ee Case Management Order. Dkt. No. 204. at 2-3: Amended Case Management Order. Dkt. No. 219. at 2·,: Order. Dkl.:--Jo. 308, at 3 4 (revising certain prnvisiom in the Case Management Order). llndc:r the Amended Case Managtment Order, respondents must provide 1h-:se disclosures to pe titioner's appropriate ly cleared counsel even if the information is UNCLASSIFIED//FOR PUBLIC RELEASE UNCLASSIFIED//FOR PUBLIC RELEASE classiticd. There is one excepti on. set fo rth in Section !.F: "lf the gol.'ernment objects 10 providing 1he petilio ner· s counsel wi1h the classified information, lhe government shall move for an exception to discl osure:· See Dkt No. 2 I9 at .l. The Court has granted respo ndents' two pre vio us~ filtH~ Secti on l. P mmions. $~'<;! DkL Nos. 524. 545. fn the present Section 1.F u10 1im\ . re spondents seek addit ional except ions from disclosure with rc:s pccl to tv. .·o classitie<l documents chat would 01hcrwise be discoverable under the Court ·s June 12. 2019 Discovery Order. In that Discovery Order. the Co urt granted Mr. Parucha.'s request that th~ re.sponden\5 be requ ired to produce ··phone or email records possc:s.sed by re~po ndents for any phone number or cmaii address associated with Mr. Parncha:' lli 0kt. No. 517 at 4. 6. Produ ction of most of these records is already complete: the. instant rnotil)n concerns two l'C cords whose pw<luc1ion requi red additionai clearances from government stakeholders. -~~ Motion at 2. Respondents have already provided Mr. Paracha with u cl.assitied subs1i1u1c for the two documents. anu now s:;ek the Coun·s kave lo v,·ithhold fro111 discovery the und erlying classified docu ments themselves. ~ee i__g_. at] . The United States Cmut of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has determ ined when Rcourt may 1.m!e1· production of classified in formation in a civil mauer over the government' s objection.,Sec AI_Qdah v•. United Stci le s, 559 f .3d 5J9 (D .C. Cir. 2009). To order production of such info nnation. the Coun must find (I) that ··the in forma lion ts both rdev.1m and material .. - in the: sen~c \ha\ it is at least helpful to the petitioner·;; habeas case. i.Q. at 544; {2) thai .. a(;cess by peticioner's counsel. .. is necc:ssary to facili tati.:: [meaningful hahcas] rc\'iew.'· id. at 545: and (3) that .. a[1ernatives to disc lo~ure would not effectively Sllbstimtl;! for unredacied access:· i_Q. a1 547. The: materi alit y n:qu ire1ne n1 i'.-l met only for '"infonm11ion that is exculpatory. that undermines the re liability of other purporri.::dly ineulpatnry evidence. Ot' that names potenti al 1 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR PUBLIC RELEASE UNCLASSIFIED/IfOR PUBLIC RELEASE witnesses capable of providing material evidence:· lg. at 546. In a previous Memorandum Opinion u 11 {he Case Management Order !lmt applies to this matter. Judge Hogau ru led tbat ..,he Al.Pd@ framework ... is applicabl<!'' to ail of chc Guantanamo habeas petitions ~onsolidated in \his District. See 1'1~ Guantami.rn.,.QJw _.()ernincc__Litigaijon. 634 F. Supp. 2d 17. 24 (D.D.C. 2009). The Court has reviewed the complt:tc and t.m-redacted versions of both o f the documc nh al issue in the present rnotiou. respondcnls' arguments and supponing declarations. and the classified substitute tha1the resrondcnts have alread y prod uc..!d. The Coun finds that none of the d iJssiti cd infonnation frn m the documents that has been omi tted from the suhstitutt' provided to Mr. Pamella is mate rial or necessary for meaningful habeas review. and that disclos ing th e in form atio n cou!d imperil rhc nat ional securi ty of the United Stmes. The; Court fu rther linds that the d assifo:~d substitute that responJen~ have produced lo Mr. Paracha does provide a sufficient al ternative fo r anof the relevan t and maiedal information in the two documents at issue in this motion. Uncicr the .1 .1 OdaJ:i standard. the government may not be compelled to produce the underl ying documents themselves. Se~ Motion ac 4. 8 (ident ifying the c.:lassifo:d docL1111enls with specificity). Accordingly. it is hcre b)· ORDERED that responden ts' October 21. 20 19 ~~ parte mot ion. §f~ 0kt. No. 5.J?. is GRANTED: iilnd it is ., UNCLASSIFIED//FOR PUBLIC RELEASE UNCLASSIFIE0//FOR PUBLIC RELEASE FURTHER ORDERED !ha t respondent need not prod uce the two documents that arc tbe SLlbject of the motion. SO ORDERED.,,.) f'~ _} a - 1: . ~ ~ - r AUL L FRI ED MAN United States Distri ct Juuge 4 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR PUBLIC RELEASE