U.S. Marshals’ Service Responds to FOIA Request on Harassment Allegations in Jeff Baron Case

“THE RECORDS PERTAIN TO AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION”

by Sharon Rondeau

The U.S. Marshals' Service was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789

(May 30, 2012) — The Post & Email had filed two FOIA requests over the last two months regarding the case of Jeff Baron, an internet entrepreneur who was placed under house arrest after his company was placed into bankruptcy and plundered at the order of federal Judge Stacey Jernigan.

Baron’s assets were placed into receivership, a move which Baron’s appeals attorney, Gary Schepps, has stated deprived Baron of his due process rights.  The website lawinjustice.com reported:

Jeff is prohibited from owning anything, from spending any money, from entering into any transaction, acquiring ANY possessions, etc…Without any lawsuit filed against him, without a hearing or trial, Jeff was ‘accused’ in a secret proceeding (set up in advance by attorneys and Peter Vogel) of being a defrauder of lawyers and of supposedly setting up a scheme to get free legal services.

According to the same source, both federal judges involved in the lawsuits against Baron had ex parte communications with lawyers who then worked against Baron to place his companies, personal belongings, and even his person into receivership and house arrest.

In March of last year, Baron’s appellate attorney had told the court:

Appellate Counsel should be able to raise the facts of the case to the attention of the Court of Appeals and should never be forcibly placed in a position of fearing retributory sanctions and charges of contempt in a trial court, as has occurred in this case…

Judge Royal Furgeson had then responded:

They do and I have jurisdiction, too.  So I’ll tell you what…You want to challenge the court order, I have the marshals behind me.  I can come to your house, pick you up, put you in jail.  I can seize your property, do anything I need to do to enforce my orders…We do have marshals that walk around here and people that can take control if a judge is unable to convince people of the judge’s jurisdiction.

So who dispatched the U.S. Marshals to harass people acquainted with Jeff Baron?

Our first FOIA request was denied because it allegedly required the consent of Mr. Baron and requested information rather than documentation, although we did request documentation detailing why the U.S. Marshals were dispatched on many different occasions and reportedly harassed acquaintances and relatives of Mr. Baron.

A letter of complaint was filed by at least three different parties including The Post & Email with U.S. Marshals’ Service Director Stacia Hylton, to which we received no response.

On May 29, 2012, someone with knowledge of the visits made by U.S. Marshals told The Post & Email:

Yes, they have been harassing all of Jeff’s neighbors insinuating that Jeff is a dangerous person trying to cause his friends to disassociate with Jeff.  They harassed Jeff’s friends in Washington DC.   It’s crazy.  They also interrogated my neighbor a a couple of months ago and my employee sometime in March.  They also also harassed my brother and his minor children a couple of months ago.  Many of the Marshals are from the remote office in San Antonio over 200 miles away, “coincidentally” is the same district that Judge Furgeson just moved from a few years ago. I called the San Antonio Marshals office to complain about the unrelenting harassment and the supervisor told me to “get a life”.   How much is it costing taxpayers to fly in Marshals every day to harass us in Dallas?

The person added that the harassment by U.S. Marshals has not stopped.

The response to our second FOIA request is as follows:

U.S. Department of Justice

United States Marshals Service

Office of General Counsel

 

2604 Jefferson Davis Hwy.

Alexandria, VA  22301

May 29, 2012

Sharon Rondeau, Editor

The Post & Email

PO Box 195

Stafford Springs, CT  06076

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

Subject:   Documentation of Threat Allegedly Made Against Federal Judge

Dear Requester:

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is responding to your request for 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; 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; and if there is documentation of the threat allegedly made against the judge, you would like a copy of that communication as well.

Access is being denied to any records which may be responsive to your request.  The records pertain to an ongoing investigation and are not appropriate for discretionary release at this time.  The records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to exemptions (b)(5), (b)(7)(A), (b)(7)(C), (b)(7) (D), (b)(7)(E) and (b)(7)(F) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 552(b).  Exemption 5 allows and agency to withhold predecisional information, including attorney work-product and attorney-client material, reflective of the deliberative process and  contained in inter-agency or intra-agency correspondence which is not routinely available to a private party in litigation with an agency.  Exemption  7 allows the agency to withhold records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of such records or information could reasonably be expected to (A) interfere with enforcement proceedings; (C) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (D) disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis; (E) disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigation or prosecutions, or guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; and (F) endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.

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

One Response to "U.S. Marshals’ Service Responds to FOIA Request on Harassment Allegations in Jeff Baron Case"

  1. Norma Whiting   Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    What more do we need to say about Judicial Tyranny at its highest?

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