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WHAT IS THE ROLE OF U.S. MARSHALS, AND ARE THEY BEING MISUSED?

by Sharon Rondeau

(May 23, 2012) — On March 27, 2012, The Post & Email sent a letter identified as a Freedom of Information Act request by standard mail to the U.S. Marshals’ Service in Alexandria, VA to request documentation of why U.S. Marshals were reportedly dispatched to the homes of acquaintances and relatives of Mr. Jeffrey Baron, who was placed under house arrest after his company’s assets and personal belongings were seized in a blatant act of judicial activism and corruption.

The U.S. Marshals’ Service reports to the U.S. Department of Justice under Eric Holder.  U.S. Marshals are normally involved in apprehending violent criminal suspects, fugitives, and transporting federal prisoners between facilities.

Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III told The Post & Email that while he was in the custody of U.S. Marshals for five days in October 2011 while waiting to testify at the federal trial of Darren Huff, he was treated very poorly.   A separate report on that issue will be published at a later date.

After six weeks passed without a response, we contacted the U.S. Marshals’ Service by telephone on May 14, 2012 and were told by Mrs. Cunningham in the FOIA Division that the letter was never received.  She provided the email address to which FOIA requests could be sent, and we forwarded the letter as an attachment that morning.

The same letter was mailed to Director Stacia Hylton and also never acknowledged.

We followed up with another email on May 22:

From: Sharon Rondeau
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 10:10 AM
To: USMS FOIA
Subject: REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION

Good morning.  I had mailed a FOIA request on March 28, 2012, which last week you said you never received.  I then attached the letter to an email to this email address and am checking to make sure that you received it.

Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
www.thepostemail.com

After again receiving no response, on May 22, 2012, we left a voice message with Mrs. Robinson in the FOIA Division requesting immediate attention to the FOIA request, stating that we had no reason to believe that the email of last Monday had not been received by the U.S. Marshals’ Service.

By the end of business on May 22, we received the following emailed response from the Marshals’ Service:

From: nancy.robinson@usdoj.gov on behalf of USMS FOIA (USMS.FOIA@usdoj.gov)
Sent: Tue 5/22/12 12:32 PM
To: Sharon Rondeau
U.S. Department of JusticeUnited States Marshals Service

Office of General Counsel

 

2604 Jefferson Davis Hwy.

Alexandria, VA  22301

 

May 22, 2012

 

Sharon Rondeau, Editor

The Post & Email

PO Box 195

Stafford Springs, CT  06095

 

Re:     Freedom of Information Act Request No. 2012USMS20583

            Subject:  Reports of Intimidation Committed by Deputy U. S. Marshals or

   Their Impersonators (between December 2011 and March 17, 2012)

Dear Requester:

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is responding to your request for information in the USMS files relating to (alleged) incidents of intimidation received from three individuals, including that which appear to have resulted from the unconstitutional house arrest of Mr. Jeffrey Baron, a Dallas-area resident whose company, assets, and life savings (you allege) have been seized and plundered in an unspeakable display of judicial activism and lawlessness.  You also asked/requested (among other things) the following:  whether the individuals purported to be U. S. Marshals have been apprehended, names and badge numbers of those involved, communications from their superiors or the judges who ordered them to do what they did over a span of three months, and why they were dispatched to do what they did.

For your information, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act (PA) provide a right of access to agency records, but neither Act requires an agency to respond to inquiries submitted as FOIA or PA requests.  Therefore, your inquiries will not be addressed by the USMS.

Absent a written release from the subject(s) of your request , access is denied pursuant to Exemptions (b)(6) and (b)(7)(C) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b).  Exemption 6 allows an agency to withhold files, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.  Exemption 7(C) allows an agency to withhold records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes to the extent that their production could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.  A discretionary release of such records or information, if they exist, would be in violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a.  See also United States Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989).

If you are dissatisfied with my action on this request, you may appeal by writing to the Director, Office of Information Policy (OIP), United States Department of Justice, Suite 11050, 1425 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20530-0001.  Your appeal must be received by OIP within 60 days of the date of this letter.  Both the letter and the envelope should be clearly marked “Freedom of Information/ Privacy Act Appeal.”  In the event you are dissatisfied with the results of any such appeal, judicial review will thereafter be available to you in the United States District Court for the judicial district in which you reside or have your principal place of business, or in the District of Columbia.

Sincerely,

William E. Bordley

Associate General

Counsel/ FOIPA Officer

Office of General Counsel

to which we responded:

Thank you for your response.  I thereby will amend my FOIA request.  Can that be done here or should I submit an appeal to the address you provided below?

Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
www.thepostemail.com

to which they responded:

You may submit a new request or appeal.  Either way.

We then said:

The following is a new Freedom of Information Act request pursuant to your response to my initial request.

I am requesting any and all documentation issued from the Dallas or any other office of the U.S. Marshals directing U.S. Marshals, on March 17, 2012, to seek out friends, acquaintances and relatives of Mr. Jeffrey Baron to question them regarding an alleged threat made against a federal judge in the Dallas, TX area.  I am also requesting any documentation directing U.S. Marshals or any other law enforcement agency to initiate phone-tapping of anyone whom the U.S. Marshals visited on March 17, 2012 or on a previous date for the same reason.

If there is documentation of the threat allegedly made against the judge, I would like a copy of that communication as well.

Thank you very much.

Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
www.thepostemail.com
P.O. Box 195
Stafford Springs, CT  06076

The Post & Email will be providing the U.S. Marshals’ Service response if and when one is received.

Update, May 23, 2012, 12:03 p.m. EDT:  Just after this article went to press, the following response to our second FOIA request was received:

May 23, 2012

 

Sharon Rondeau, Editor

The Post & Email

PO Box 195

Stafford Springs, CT  06076

 RE:      Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request No. 2012USMS20611

Dear Requester:

The United States Marshals Service is in receipt of your Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request for records maintained by this Bureau.  We have commenced a search for documents responsive to your request and will contact you when our processing is complete.

Although we are unable to determine at this time the amount of fees to be charged to you, if any, the filing of your request constitutes your agreement to pay all applicable fees that may be charged under 28 C.F.R. § 16.11 or § 16.49, up to $25.00.  You will be notified as soon as practicable if the estimated or actual fee for satisfying your request exceeds $25.00.

If you should have any questions, please contact us at (202) 307-9054.

        Sincerely,

 

William E. Bordley

Associate General Counsel/FOIPA Officer

Office of General Counsel

 

 

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  1. You can tell when the government is working for the people or for it’s own benefit. In this case they are aware of the situation and because there is an allegation that concerns them directly they can easily delay, deny and obfuscate just as their boss Holder is doing with complete success. The key to this will present itself when Holder is no longer able to foul the workings of the DoJ and not one second sooner. I’d be very interested in who Mitt Romney has in mind to head the department. Whoever it is they better come in with a hatchet team.
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    Mrs. Rondeau replies: The truth always comes out eventually.