Brewer v. Arnone
Federal law recognizes a "law enforcement privilege" that is designed to prevent disclosure of law enforcement techniques and procedures, as well as to preserve the confidentiality of sources and to protect law enforcement personnel. The plaintiff inmate, John Brewer, sued Department of Correction officials in an attempt to obtain religious privileges as a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths and to remove the religion's designation as a security risk group. The plaintiff moved to compel the disclosure of documents that the defendant Department of Correction officials claim were related to safety and security. The defendants argued that they were not required to disclose the documents, pursuant to the "law enforcement privilege." Federal law recognizes a "qualified executive privilege, designed `to prevent disclosure of law enforcement techniques and procedures, to preserve the confidentiality of sources, to protect witness and law enforcement personnel, to safeguard the privacy of individuals involved in an investigation, and otherwise to prevent interference with an investigation,' " pursuant to El Badrawi v. Department of Homeland Security, a 2009 decision of the Connecticut District Court. If a party seeks the protection of the law enforcement privilege, the head of the department that has control over the information must lodge a claim of privilege that specifies, with particularity, the information for which the privilege is invoked, and why the information is privileged. The District Court found that the defendant corrections officials failed to meet threshold requirements to obtain the protection of the law enforcement privilege. The court ordered the defendants to disclose documents that pertain to the chain of command, teachings and nature of the Nations of Gods and Earths.