You may file an administrative appeal if you are not satisfied with a U.S. Marshals Service initial response. You also may file an administrative appeal if the U.S. Marshals Service has not granted that request for expedited processing and/or a fee wavier.
Further, you may appeal a determination that what has been requested is not reasonably described, that a record does not exist or cannot be located, that a record is not readily reproducible in the form or format requested, that the requested information is not a record subject to the FOIA, or a determination regarding the charging of a fee. In short, you may appeal any adverse determination made by a component.
You will be advised of your right to file an administrative appeal in the U.S. Marshals Service's response containing the adverse determination. You will also be advised that you have the option to contact the component’s FOIA Public Liaison or the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and Records Administration.
Those resources may be able to answer any questions you have about the handling of your request. If you do elect to file an appeal it must be in writing and to be considered timely it must be postmarked, or in the case of electronic submissions, transmitted, within 90 calendar days after the date of the U.S. Marshals Service's response. Appeals can be submitted to DOJ through the FOIA STAR web portal accessible at https://doj-foia.entellitrak.com/etk-doj-foia-prod/login.request.do. Instructions for how to use this portal are available on OIP's website at Submit/track request or appeal. In order to submit a FOIA administrative appeal through FOIA STAR, you must first create an account and become a registered user on the site.
Appeals can also be submitted by mail to:
Office of Information Policy
U.S. Department of Justice
441 G Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Both the front of the envelope and the administrative appeal letter should contain the notation "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." The Office of Information Policy (OIP) also accepts administrative appeals by facsimile if sent to (202) 514-1009.
There is no specific form or particular language needed to file an administrative appeal. You should identify the component that denied your request and include the initial request number that the component assigned to your request and the date of the component's action. If no request number has been assigned, then you should enclose a copy of the component's determination letter. There is no need to attach copies of released documents unless they pertain to some specific point you are raising in your administrative appeal. You should explain what specific action by the component that you are appealing, but you need not explain the reason for your disagreement with the component's action unless your explanation will assist the appeal decision-maker in reaching a decision.
Administrative appeals from Department of Justice components are reviewed by an attorney in Office of Information Policy. The attorney ordinarily will have available all of the files pertaining to the processing of your request and will make an independent determination as to whether the component has properly handled your request.
Under the FOIA, Office of Information Policy is ordinarily required to make a determination on your administrative appeal within twenty business days. Office of Information Policy may take one of several actions on your administrative appeal. It may affirm the component's action in full, in which case it will often identify the reason why the component's action was proper. Alternatively, it may affirm part of the component's action, but otherwise "remand" the request in part for the component to take some further action. Finally, under some circumstances, it may remand the request to the component in its entirety for further action. When a case is remanded, you will have an opportunity to appeal again to Office of Information Policy if you are dissatisfied in any respect with the component's action on remand.