UNITED STATES v. WEATHERHEAD
In 1994, Sally Ann Croft was extradited from Great Britain to the U.S. to face federal criminal charges in Oregon. Seeking to change the venue of her trial, Croft's attorney, Leslie R. Weatherhead, sought a letter from the British Home Office, which expressed concerns about Croft's ability to receive a fair trial in Oregon. Weatherhead filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for disclosure of the letter. Ultimately, the government notified Weatherhead that it was withholding the letter under the FOIA's national security exemption. After pursuing administrative appeals without success, the Court of Appeals ordered the government to produce the letter. The court called the letter "innocuous," concluding that no national security interest had been established.
Is the government justified in rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request and refusing to release a letter from British officials about a British woman's extradition to face a criminal charge in the United States?
The Court did not answer the question. The Court vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case to the appellate court with directions to vacate the judgment of the District Court and dismiss the case as moot. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented. Note: The British Home Office, ultimately, asked the government to provide Weatherhead with a copy of the letter.