Another thought on ICE’s statements

This isn’t
specifically IP-related, but I’m pondering the part of my FOIA suit requesting
training materials for ICE agents relying on case law, etc.  Initially, the ICE spokesperson who responded
to my inquiry said that ICE based its seizure decisions on consultation with
agency and Department of Justice attorneys, including consideration of
“potential fair use provisions and federal circuit-specific case law.”  When ICE didn’t produce any documents
relating to any of that, we used the initial statement as evidence that ICE
hadn’t met its FOIA obligations.  The
court found it perfectly plausible that all ICE used to determine counterfeit
status were manufacturers’ guides, rather than materials of its own.

Now, I will admit
that I too suspected that the initial claims were bullshit,
in the specific sense of being made with complete indifference to their truth
or falsity in order to achieve a non-truth-related conversational aim, that of
getting me to shut up and go away.  (That
worked really well, as you can see.)  But
it’s depressing—I wish I could say extraordinary—that the court didn’t even
count that statement as evidence that such guidance existed.  What does it mean for a democracy when a
court tells us we shouldn’t take official statements seriously, even—maybe especially—statements
made at such a low level about matters that are relatively low-stakes?  Is government only to be trusted when it’s under oath?

from Blogger

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