Jesus Vidal-Martinez v. DHS

In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ Nos. 22-2445 & 23-1900 JESUS VIDAL-MARTINEZ, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY and UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, Defendants-Appellees. ____________________ Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:20-cv-07772 — Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge. ____________________ ARGUED MAY 23, 2023 — DECIDED OCTOBER 24, 2023 ____________________ Before SYKES, Chief Judge, and BRENNAN and PRYOR, Circuit Judges. BRENNAN, Circuit Judge. Jesus Vidal-Martinez filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with Immigra- tion and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seeking disclosure of information about his transfer from ICE custody to officials in 2 Nos. 22-2445 & 23-1900 Decatur County, Indiana, where he faced state criminal charges. This case concerns redactions in a subset of docu- ments that ICE produced. After in camera review, the district court ruled that ICE properly withheld the redacted infor- mation under FOIA’s exemption provisions. Vidal-Martinez appeals the district court’s ruling. Because that court commit- ted no clear error, we affirm. We also affirm the district court’s denial of Vidal-Martinez’s request for attorney’s fees because he did not prevail. I The FOIA requests at issue relate to Vidal-Martinez’s im- migration proceedings, so we begin there. Vidal-Martinez, a non-citizen living in the United States, was arrested by Indi- ana authorities three times for operating a vehicle while in- toxicated. After his third arrest in June 2020, the U.S. Depart- ment of Homeland Security detained him at the McHenry County Detention Center in Illinois, and ICE initiated depor- tation proceedings. A. Habeas Proceedings While detained, Vidal-Martinez filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. He argued that his detention was unconsti- tutional, in part, because it impeded his ability to defend him- self against the drunk-driving charges he faced in Indiana. ICE asked a prosecutor whether Decatur County planned to pursue its charges against Vidal-Martinez. If so, ICE would need a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum 1 to transfer 1 Using this writ, “a sovereign may take temporary custody of a pris- oner in the custody of another sovereign, for the purpose of prosecution, without acquiring primary custody.” Pope v. Perdue, 889 F.3d 410, 412–13 (7th Cir. 2018). Nos. 22-2445 & 23-1900 3 custody of Vidal-Martinez. The Decatur County Superior Court issued such a writ, and ICE transferred Vidal-Martinez to county custody. The writ stated that Vidal Martinez would remain with the county “until the completion of [the] criminal matter, then released to his ICE detainer.” After the transfer, ICE moved to dismiss Vidal-Martinez’s habeas petition because he was no longer in ICE custody. The habeas court denied the motion. See Vidal-Martinez v. Prim, No. 20 C 5099, 2020 WL 6441341, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 3, 2020). Under this type of writ, the court explained, Indiana had only temporary custody over Vidal-Martinez for the duration of his criminal matter; ICE “maintain[ed] primary custody” as the “sending sovereign.” Id. at *5. Otherwise, “ICE could avoid jurisdiction by …

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