Illinois (ECWd) -
On April 1, 2015 the Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor issued a determination regarding a Freedom of Information request submitted for review almost 3 years ago.
In an effort to share with the public the events surrounding the attempted cover up of criminal activity by the former Gun Running Sheriff Tim Crippes and his deputies (Edgar County Fast & Furious), I asked the Illinois State Police for certain records. These records surrounded the investigation of his jailers who were having sex with inmates.
The ISP ignored the request until after the deadline for compliance, then claimed compliance was unduly burdensome, costly, and violated the dignity of the victims.
I filed a request for review with the Attorney General's PAC office and pointed out 9 separate violation issues. Their office then notified the ISP and asked for them to submit the records for their review among other things.
The ISP ignored the AG's PAC and never supplied them with the requested records!
The most amazing response submitted by the ISP in defense of their defenseless violations was citing section 4(a)(l) of the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses · Act; which provides that crime victims have the right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process."
The reason I reference that as the most amazing part of their entire response is two fold: First, because The Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act does not specifically prohibit the disclosure of any information - it merely states a general principle that the privacy rights of victims and witnesses should be respected. It does not suggest that those undefined privacy rights outweigh the specific disclosure requirements of FOIA. Second, I wrote directly on point regarding Dignity, or the lack of it in this county. Read EACH of them below to get the WHOLE picture of what this county is infected with!
The AG's PAC found in my favor and stated the ISP had failed to sustain its burden of demonstrating that the responsive records are exempt from disclosure. They went on to instruct the ISP to provide the records.
Where are we in our society when the top Law Enforcement Agency in the state (Illinois State Police) can simply ignore the Freedom of Information Act as well as ignore the Attorney General PAC office during the legal process of reviewing the citizen's right to records?
Is the ISP refusal or failure to comply with providing the records to the AG not official misconduct? Who polices the police? Any bets that the ISP simply ignores the instructions from the AG?
Citizen's rights continue to erode and it will only get worse if we don't have leaders step up and demand accountability to our laws for everyone - to include law enforcement!
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