(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department and the State Department for extradition records of illegal alien Saul Chavez, who ran over and killed William “Denny” McCann, the brother of Judicial Watch client Brian McCann (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice, et al. (No. 1:23-cv-00701
The lawsuit was filed after both the Justice Department and the State Department failed to respond adequately to similar FOIA requests submitted on February 1, 2023, for access to Chavez’s extradition records.
Judicial Watch explained to the court:
In June 2011, Saul Chavez ran over and killed William “Denny” McCann, brother of Judicial Watch client Brian McCann. At the time, Chavez was an unlawfully present criminal alien and had just completed a two-year term of probation for a 2009 DUI conviction. Chavez was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence but was released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in November 2011 despite an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer. Chavez subsequently fled to Mexico …
Chavez was extradited from Mexico in December 2022.
Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the State Department for Chavez’s extradition records, which include, but are not limited to “correspondence between the Office of the Legal Adviser and the U.S. Department of Justice, state and federal authorities in the U.S.,” as well as “copies of court records of the legal proceedings” and “committal documents, such as the extradition order, affidavit of waiver, legal briefs and hearing transcript, decision memo to the Secretary of State or to his or her Deputy, and the surrender warrant.”
To date, the State Department has failed to respond – let alone produce records – to Judicial Watch’s request.
The Justice Department denied the request outright, citing, among the other reasons, the privacy interests of the criminal Chavez.
In July 2015, Brian testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing titled “Oversight of the Administration’s Misdirected Immigration Enforcement Policies: Examining the Impact on Public Safety and Honoring the Victims.” Brian McCann explained:
Denny was crossing Kedzie Avenue on a marked crosswalk four years ago and was violently struck by a drunk driver who dragged Denny under his car for a block in an attempt to flee before Denny died. The family was notified by the Chicago Police and the killer was placed into custody and charged with aggravated DUI causing death. Two days later ICE issued a detainer because the young man was an illegal alien with a prior felony. The family was assured by the Cook County prosecutor that the defendant would not be allowed to post bail and be released. Three months later the Cook County Board passed the ordinance that effectively requires the sheriff to ignore detainers. During the intervening weeks after Denny’s violent death, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and former mayoral candidate and Commissioner Jesus Garcia pushed for the ordinance and rammed it through on September 7, 2011. Two months later the killer made bail and absconded to Mexico.
“My family and I continue to seek justice for Denny. Now that he has been extradited from Mexico, we are one step closer. But, we still want to know: what took so long? With the help of Judicial Watch, we hope to find out,” said Brian McCann.
“Denny McCann was killed by an illegal alien with a prior felony – and then that criminal was released and fled to Mexico as a result of Chicago’s lawless and deadly sanctuary policies,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And to make matters worse, the Biden administration is unlawfully hiding records about why it took over a decade to extradite from Mexico this murderous criminal.”
During his effort to obtain justice for his brother’s violent death, Judicial Watch filed suit on behalf of Brian McCann against the Cook County Sheriff in April 2013, asking the court to order the sheriff’s department to carry out its legal duties under federal immigration law. Chavez had been charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence but was released by the sheriff from a Cook County jail in November 2011 despite an ICE immigration detainer. The case was dismissed by the circuit court and afterward, in March 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
In March 2021, Judicial Watch’s taxpayer lawsuit against the San Francisco Sheriff’s sanctuary policy uncovered that over 2,400 criminal illegal aliens were released under the department’s policy on communications with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about criminal illegal aliens in the Sheriff’s custody.
Judicial Watch also just uncovered how, until recently, the Biden administration had been diverting 150-200 Federal Air Marshals monthly to the Mexican border to provide illegal immigrants with welfare checks, transportation, and other basic services. This practice reduced their capacity to perform their original mission of air transportation security. The Federal Air Marshal Service, which operates under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), was created after 9/11 to prevent another terrorist attack. Judicial Watch’s exposure of this security issue to the public helped force the Biden administration to returnthe Federal Air Marshals to their regular duties.