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State’s Attorney reacts to FOIA-related ruling

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:26 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – The Kane County State's Attorney's Office might take on additional duties handling open records requests as a result of an Illinois Supreme Court decision, Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said.

The state Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Nelson v. Kendall County in May concluded that the Freedom of Information Act does apply to State's Attorney's Offices as part of the executive branch of state government.

It was the Kane County State's Attorney's position in the past that FOIA did not apply to it, McMahon said.

“We are gearing up to prepare for those requests,” McMahon said Tuesday during his monthly media meeting.

McMahon said the State's Attorney's Office will have to be more thorough with its exemptions under FOIA going forward. Office employees will review requests and make any necessary redactions from documents in question.

Information that does not compromise witness safety or a pending case will be released, McMahon said.

McMahon said the State's Attorney's Office does receive FOIA requests on a regular basis. He did not have an exact number of FOIA requests received in the past year available because he said the office does not track the number of requests.

Most of the FOIA requests are from correctional center inmates who have been convicted, exhausted all appeal options, and want to see what the office has on file for their specific cases, McMahon said.

Information on contracts and the office's budget previously have been available to the public, McMahon said.

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