SAO FOIA Suit Updates

SAOIn October of 2020 the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) forced CJP to file suit for a second time in 6 years because the they refuse to honor their obligations under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Our original suit was filed under the final years of former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. As Kim Foxx swept in to office with amazing promises of new levels of transparency her office settled our ongoing lawsuit. Unfortunately the office has continued to play the same games with data – although masking it in all kids of new transparency rhetoric – that office has played for decades.

Our lawsuit has been filed to force the SAO to honor its obligations under the law and make their data available to the public. We will not settle for the very small amounts of data the SAO releases online currently. The public simply does not trust, for very good reasons, when justice agencies like the SAO release an analysis of their own data without providing access to the underlying data used in the analysis.

For access to the original complaint, more about our filing of this suit, and insight in to our fight for access to SAO data now entering our 2nd decade you can go to this link.

Below we will be providing running updates on what happens inside the courtroom as the SAO does everything they can to hide their data.

Update on Feb. 2nd hearing:

  • SAO delayed answering our complaint until we moved for default, then effectively admitted they were in default by immediately agreeing to answer.
  • Despite that delay, they have now asked for two extensions, just to answer the complaint.
  • SAO has revealed that it intends to move to dismiss the whole case. So despite their public and repeated claims of “transparency,” they choose to oppose any FOIA request and any FOIA complaint and avoid any production of their data.
  • SAO also said it intends to move to dismiss the breach count, essentially saying that not only do they not have to produce their data, they also don’t have to abide by their agreements.

Next court date is: 5/13 @ 10:30 am

Author: Tracy Siska

Tracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.

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