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Monday, April 25, 2022

Court Addresses Juvenile Records in FOIA Case

A requester submitted a FOIA request to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) asking for records related to a 2019 officer-involved shooting of a juvenile. CPD denied the request, arguing that the juvenile law enforcement records were specifically prohibited from disclosure under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (JCA). The requestor subseuqently filed a lawsuit alleging that CPD had violated FOIA by failing to provide the responsive juvenile law enforcement records. The trial court ruled in favor of the requestor, finding that the JCA’s privacy protections for juvenile law enforcement records ended upon a minor’s death, meaning the requester was entitled to the disclosure of those records.

On appeal, the Appellate Court disagreed and reversed the trial court ruling, finding that the court's finding that the JCA’s privacy provisions do not apply to law enforcement records of a deceased minor was incorrect. Calloway v. Chicago Police Department. The appellate court noted that the JCA does not contain any language explicitly or implicitly limiting the scope of these protections to records involving a deceased minor. As a result, the appellate court held that these records cannot be disclosed to unauthorized parties without good cause and an order from the juvenile court.

The appellate court also held that the CPD failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the requested records fell with the scope of the asserted FOIA exemption, because the CPD’s affidavit in support of its claimed exemptions was brief and conclusory, and failed to provide the detailed justification required to show why the exemptions applied. The appellate court then remanded the case back to the trial court to determine what, if any, responsive records are exempt from disclosure under FOIA and which records are subject to disclosure.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink


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