Tag Archives: Freedom of Information Act

F. B. I. rejects Freedom of Information Act requests for the investigation file in Leila Fowler murder case.

On January 23, 2018 oral arguments for the appeal filed by the defense in the Leila Fowler murder case were heard by the Appeals Panel for the 3rd Judicial District of California.

On January 26, 2018 I drafted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FBI for the contents of their investigation filed in Leila Fowler murder case.  As the people of Valley Springs will recall, the FBI was all over this case, interviewing neighbors, interrogating Isiah Fowler, mowing and searching the area behind the scene of the crime and analyzing the call made to Isiah by the 911 operator.

The defense team of Mark Reichel and Steve Plesser repeatedly requested the contents of the FBI as part of discovery and were told by the prosecution there was nothing to provide.  The defense was particularly interested in the interview summary of a particular individual who refused to talk with the defense.  This person emphatically told us that we could read what he told the FBI.  That person remains unaccounted for at the time of the murder.  This person’s identity will remain as Witness X for the time being.

In my FOIA request, I asked for the contents of the file generally and more specifically for a list of persons interviewed and the summaries of those interviews.  I also asked specifically for anything dealing with Witness X.

Much to my amazement, on 2/15/18 I received a letter from the FBI in Winchester, VA.  This letter was postmarked 2/12/18, but was actually dated 2/15/18.  That did seem rather odd.  What did not seem odd is that the request for information regarding Witness X was specifically rejected based upon a variety of third party exemptions.  Therefore, Witness X remains unaccounted for at the time of the murder.  It should be noted that the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department was made aware of this person being unaccounted for by at least two other witnesses and they never contacted Witness X, or if they did, there is no record of Witness X in the files presented as part of their discovery.

On 2/20/18 I found a second letter from the same FBI office in my PO Box.  This letter rejected my FOIA request for the Fowler investigation file in general.  It again cited third party exemptions as the reason.

The people of Valley Springs know full well that the FBI worked this case, but the defense has consistently been denied access to investigation details from FBI files.  We will continue to pursue this information, but in the meantime the community impacted by this crime deserves to know that the information culled from their interviews continues to be kept from the defense.

If the appeal heard by the Appellate Court for the 3rd district is favorable to the defense and the case is remanded, we will continue to pursue this information in general and as to Witness X in particular.



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Next Class at the Learning Exchange.

My next class at the Learning Exchange on how to find anything on anybody will be on September 19th, 2013.  I hope to see you there.

For detailed information check out this link.


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Your copier and scanner holds all your secrets!

Copiers are full of secrets.

Did you know that modern copiers have a hard drive that digitally retains every (or nearly every) document copied on that machine and the vast majority of those machines are without any mechanism to erase or encrypt the data.  As a result when you sell or trade in a copier you are probably sending all kinds of private information that identity thieves can then get their hands on.

In addition, lawyers conducting discovery should be aware that an individual’s copier or a company’s copier may be a source of information relevant to an on going law suit.

One law firm I spoke with purchased what was represented as brand new copier and its hard drive was full of documents from and accounting firm.

For a brief primer check out this video from CBS News that aired in 2010.


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Just two weeks to the class at the Learning Exchange

Just two (2) until our next class on How to Find Anything on Anyone at the Learning Exchange.


See you there.  (If you can find the classroom.)

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Hello world!

Day one of my blog and this is a day that may or may not go unnoticed in the annals of blogging.  Only time will tell.

I am a Private Investigator licensed by the State of California (CA PI Lic. #20100)  I opened my own shop in 1999 and since that time I have worked on cases in the areas of civil, criminal, family and probate law.  I’ve worked on cases involving huge forest fires and slip and falls and I have found people and information that other didn’t or couldn’t find on their own.

In 2005 I began teaching a class called “Find Anything On Anyone” at the Learning Exchange (LEX) in Sacramento.


The LEX picked the name and it is a little too broad, but the purpose is to teach people where accessible information exists .  No hacking, no sneaking, just learning where useful information is and how to use it.  In a 2 and 1/2 hour class we cover, court records (State and Federal), county recorder records, assessor’s records, marriage records, death records, birth records and a variety of State records, particularly  corporate records maintained by the office of the Secretary of State.  We even cover the basics of the Freedom of Information Act.

Over the years the class has been attended by paralegals, other investigators and a bankruptcy trustee as well as people looking for long-lost relatives, long-lost lovers (or people they wished had been lovers) and people who owed them money.

This blog is intended to be an extension of the class and help you search more effectively or decide to have a professional do it for you.

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