National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Nonprofit Sues Chicago States Attorney Alleging Repeated FOIA Violations

The fallout from the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald continues. The Chicago Justice Project (CJP), a nonprofit that analyzes data from criminal-justice agencies, is suing the Cook County’s State’s Attorney’s office alleging that it has repeatedly violated the state’s open-records law. If the suit is successful, it will force the office to turn over a multitude of public records that the CJP has been seeking since last year through the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

According to the lawsuit, between 2008 and 2009 the CJP requested demographic data on certain crimes involving sexual assault as the State’s Attorney’s office reviewed the cases to determine if felony charges were justified. For several years, the office demurred from providing the data, which is used in part to see prosecutorial trends. Continue…