A criminal fugitive has no right to ask the Justice Department to turn over its files on his case to him, a U.S. judge here rules yesterday.
U.S. District Judge Harold H. Greene made the ruling in a Freedom of Information suit filed on behalf of John Christopher Doyle, who now lives in Panama and who has been a fugitive since 1965. Doyle, who pleaded guilty to a violation of securities law, failed to appear at that time to begin serving a three-month jail sentence.
Now a Panamanian citizen, Doyle said he should have access to the file because the FOI Act says plainly that "any person" should have access to government files about himself or herself with certain exceptions that do not affect Doyle.
Greene said there were not legal precedents on the issue of giving government files to fugitives, but said generally that courts long have refused to entertain various types of legal proceedings when they are brought by persons who are fugitives. ". . . One who has removed himself from the jurisdiction of the courts has no claim upon them for an order which would require the delivery of the files of the United States government to his hiding place," Greene said in a written opinion. "The hands of the plaintiff are sullied with his contempt for the tribunals whose assistance he is seeking to invoke."