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Thursday, May 22, 2014

County State's Attorney is a "Public Body" Under FOIA

In 2010, a reporter submitted a number of FOIA requests to Kendall County asking for various records held by the State's Attorney's office.  The State's Attorney's office denied the request on the grounds that the State's Attorney's office is part of the judicial branch of government and are, therefore, exempt from FOIA. The trial and appellate courts agreed, both holding that State's Attorneys are exempt from FOIA.  

On appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the trial and appellate courts, holding that a State's Attorneys office is a "public body" under FOIA.  Nelson v. Kendall County, 2014 IL 116303 (May 22, 2014). Although the Supreme Court acknowledged that FOIA does not include the judicial branch or judiciary, the Supreme Court determined that a State's Attorney's office is not part of the judiciary or the judicial branch of government.  Instead, the Court concluded that the office of State's Attorney is part of the executive branch of state government, which falls squarely within the definition of "public body" under FOIA.

We previously posted about the Second District decision here.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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