NACDL v. Executive Office for United States Attorneys and U.S. Department of Justice (appellate)

15-5051 (D.C. Cir.)

NACDL sued the Justice Department seeking disclosure of its Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book.  This publication reportedly covers the law, policy, and practice of prosecutors’ disclosure obligations.  The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision that the publication is protected work product. Included here are key pleadings filed in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' (NACDL) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking the Department of Justice's Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book.


In response to the public furor over the "egregious misconduct" by Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors in the case of the late Senator Ted Stevens, whose conviction was vacated after post-trial investigations revealed that prosecutors had withheld significant exculpatory evidence from the defense, DOJ’s Office of Legal Education published, but has not made available to the public, a text referred to as the Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book. In December 2012, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the DOJ seeking the disclosure of the Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book, which was denied in February 2013, purportedly on various privilege-based and law enforcement grounds. NACDL appealed that denial in April 2013, and was denied again in June 2013. NACDL filed federal suit in February 2014.

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