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Mayfield v. United States

December 10, 2009; vacated and opinion filed March 24, 2010


Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Oregon Ann L. Aiken, Chief District Judge, Presiding, D.C. No. CV-04-01427-AA.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paez, Circuit Judge


Argued and Submitted February 5, 2009 -- Portland, Oregon

Before: Richard A. Paez and Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Circuit Judges, and Raner C. Collins,*fn1 District Judge.


In this appeal, we must decide whether Plaintiffs-Appellees Brandon Mayfield, a former suspect in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, and his family, have standing to seek declaratory relief against the United States that several provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") as amended by the PATRIOT Act are unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Although Mayfield settled the bulk of his claims against the government, the settlement agreement allowed him to pursue his Fourth Amendment claim. According to the terms of the settlement agreement, the only relief available to Mayfield, if he were to prevail on his Fourth Amendment claim, is a declaratory judgment. He may not seek injunctive relief. We hold that, in light of the limited remedy available to Mayfield, he does not have standing to pursue his Fourth Amendment claim because his injuries already have been substantially redressed by the settlement agreement, and a declaratory judgment would not likely impact him or his family. We thus vacate the judgment of the district court.


On March 11, 2004, terrorists' bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and injuring another 1600 people, including three U.S. citizens.*fn2 Shortly after the bombings, the Spanish National Police ("SNP") recovered fingerprints from a plastic bag containing explosive detonators. The bag was found in a Renault van located near the bombing site. On March 13, 2004, the SNP submitted digital photographs of the fingerprints to Interpol Madrid, which then transmitted them to the FBI in Quantico, Virginia.

The FBI searched fingerprints in its own computer system, attempting to match the prints received from Spain. On March 15, 2004, an FBI computer produced 20 candidates whose known prints had features in common with what was identified as Latent Finger Print #17 ("LFP #17"). The FBI performed background checks on each of the candidates, one of whom was Brandon Mayfield.

Mayfield is a U.S. citizen, born in Oregon and brought up in Kansas. He lives with his wife and three children in Aloha, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. He is 43 years old, a former Army officer with an honorable discharge, and a practicing lawyer. Mayfield is also a Muslim with strong ties to the Muslim community in Portland.

On March 17, 2004, FBI Agent Green, a fingerprint specialist, concluded that Mayfield's left index fingerprint matched LFP #17. Green then submitted the fingerprints for verification to Massey, a former FBI employee who continued to contract with the FBI to perform forensic analysis of fingerprints. Massey verified that Mayfield's left index fingerprint matched LFP #17. The prints were then submitted to a senior FBI manager, Wieners, for additional verification. Wieners also verified the match.

On March 20, 2004, the FBI issued a formal report matching Mayfield's print to LFP #17. The next day, FBI surveil-lance agents began to watch Mayfield and follow him and members of his family when they traveled to and from the mosque, Mayfield's law office, the children's schools, and other family activities. The FBI also applied to the Foreign Intelligence Security Court ("FISC") for authorization to place electronic listening devices in the "shared and intimate" rooms of the Mayfield family home; searched the home while nobody was there; obtained private and protected information about the Mayfields from third parties; searched Mayfield's law offices; and placed wiretaps on his office and home phones. The application for the FISC order was personally approved by John Ashcroft, then the Attorney General of the United States.

In April 2004, the FBI sent Mayfield's fingerprints to the Spanish government. The SNP examined the prints and the FBI's report, and concluded that there were too many unexplained dissimilarities between Mayfield's prints and LFP #17 to verify the match. FBI agents then met with their Spanish counterparts in Madrid, who refuted the FBI's conclusion that there was a match.

After the meeting with the SNP, the FBI submitted an affidavit to the district court, stating that experts considered LFP #17 a "100% positive identification" of Mayfield. The affidavit did not mention that the SNP had reached a different conclusion. The affidavit did include information about Mayfield's religious practice and association with other Muslims. On May 4, 2004, the government named Brandon May-field as a material witness and filed an application for material witness order. The district court appointed an independent fingerprint expert, Kenneth Moses, to analyze the ...

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