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Monday, June 3, 2013

States Attorney Not Subject to FOIA

Update:  On May 22, 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the Second District and concluded that State's Attorneys are public bodies under the definition of FOIA and do have to comply with the requirements of that statute.  We posted about the Supreme Court decision here.

A news station submitted a FOIA request for emails and other records from the Kendall County State's Attorneys' office.  The States Attorney denied the request, responding that it was not subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.  The trial court agreed, finding that a state's attorney office is a judicial branch of state government and does not, therefore, fall under the definition of "public body" under the Illinois FOIA law.
The news station appealed, and the Second District Appellate Court affirmed in Nelson v. County of Kendall, 2013 IL App (2d) 120635.  FOIA defines public body to include "all legislative, executive, administrative, or advisory bodies of the State, ... counties, and...subsidiary bodies of any of the foregoing."  That definition does not include judicial bodies.  Because the office of state's attorney is established by the judicial article of the state constitution, the court declined to infer a legislative intent to include state's attorneys within the definition of public body.  Thus, because the county state's attorneys' offices do not fall within the definition of "public body," they are not subject to FOIA according to the court.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink.


  1. The Illinois Supreme Court just reversed the Appellate Court and stated that State's Attorneys are subject to FOIA:


  2. Thank you John! We did post a new story about the Supreme Court decision the day it came out on May 22, 2014, but I will also update this post to refer to that case. http://municipalminute.ancelglink.com/2014/05/county-states-attorney-is-public-body.html