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Monday, December 18, 2017

Requester Not Entitled To Criminal Assault Records

In McGee v. Kelley, a FOIA requester, who had previously been indicted and convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault, sought documents related to his indictment. The sheriff’s office denied the request under Sections 7(1)(d)(i), (iii), and (iv) as the case was still under appeal and considered an open investigation. The sheriff argued that the records were still exempt because the requester made the same request in 2010, at which time it was denied and reviewed by the PAC based on: 1) the requester had received redacted records in 2009 and never challenged the redactions; 2) the records were exempt from release under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 412(j)(ii), which provides that criminal defendants are not to receive the names of the people providing information against them; 3) the disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of the victim’s privacy as the reports detailed a sexual assault, and 4) certain redacted portions disclosed specialized investigative techniques.

The requester then filed a complaint in circuit court against the sheriff. The circuit court conducted an in camera examination of the requested records and found in favor of the sheriff’s office. The court found that none of the records were releasable under FOIA, the requester’s prior similar requests collaterally estopped him from proceeding with the case, and the documents were exempt under 7(1)(a) and 7(1)(b).

The requester appealed to the appellate court which also ruled in favor of the sheriff’s office.  The appellate court found that the public did not have any interest in the actual details of the assault, whereas the degree of invasion of personal privacy to the victim was substantial.  Further, the court found no evidence that the police reports had previously been made public.

Post Authored by Erin Pell, Ancel Glink


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