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May 27, 2024

AG Investigating Glen Ellyn for FOIA Denials

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 24, 2014


After a simple request for public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was denied by the Village of Glen Ellyn, the Attorney General has determined that further inquiry is warranted and directed them to provide a response to support their denial.

This came after I have requested 24 months worth of DUI/DWI arrest records which the Village stated was unduly burdensome. I reduced that to 12 months worth of records and the Village stated it was still unduly burdensome without stating any facts justifying their position.

The denial did appear to state that since I lived 194 miles away, the records I wanted were less of a public interest then say, someone who lived 20 miles away. Since I could not find any language in the FOI Act referencing location of residency as reason for denial, I filed a complaint with the AG’s PAC Office asking them to review this denial of public records that was based solely on where I chose to reside.

Makes me wonder if they are taking FOIA lessons from the College of DuPage.

View the documents below (or click here):

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  • Crusty old dude
    Posted at 19:28h, 25 September Reply

    I’m all for you guys, and what you do but I guess I would ask why you want two years of DUI records. I know you don’t need a reason why but depending on how many officers they have that could be as many as 3 or 4 hundred arrest files. I appreciate what you guys do, but don’t you think at some point if people (not saying you) just go out to try to burden the system, it will result in a bad change for all of us. Likely them changing the FOIA law to make it more restrictive. That would not be good for any of us. Imagine if I asked the City of Chicago for all misdemeanor arrest files for two years. Not because I needed it, just because I knew I could ask for it. There are ways to get this information without the FOIA request if you are looking for statistics. If you are hunting for a specific person who got hung up in that village, then just ask for that one file. I think it would behoove all of us to take a precision request campaign mentality instead of a carpet bombing campaign. Just my two cents.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 14:32h, 26 September Reply

      I appreciate your response, but think about this for a second. Why don’t they explain how it is excessive…or maybe give me a time-frame that would not be excessive, like 3 months, or one month. Trying to make me guess what is or is not excessive is not the way to do business. then they claim the problem is where I live.

      • Crusty old dude
        Posted at 15:48h, 27 September Reply

        I do have a bit of knowledge about DUI’s. Each completed DUI report is at a minimum around 10 pages long, that included copies of all paperwork given to the defendant (Warning to motorist, Statutory Summary Suspension, all citations, then comes the Standardized Field Sobriety test scores, all that before you even get to the officers report. Also if they have a camera system a DVD with the video would be attached as well. So according to them they had 118 DUI arrests for the 12 month period, your looking at over a thousand pages of reports they would have to sift through to make sure no personal information not allowed by FOIA is in there, then scan them all into a file that makes sense. That does sound burdensome when you could simply ask for Joe blows arrest file. If you do not know who you are looking for, then I would ask why it is needed. Truly, I think you guys do wonderful work, but for you to put into your first sentence that it was a SIMPLE request shows that your intentionally trying to make them look bad. I wouldn’t think compiling a thousand page document simple.

        • jmkraft
          Posted at 15:56h, 27 September Reply

          Thanks for your comments. One would think in this day and age that all records would be digitized as they came in to provide easier access for all involved in the arrest and prosecution. When we do the next article on this series of FOIA denials, it will become crystal clear they are purposely avoiding providing records.

          • Crusty old dude
            Posted at 19:18h, 27 September

            Ask Sheriff Motley if his records are digitized, they are not. Ask the Illinois State Police if their records are digitized, they are not. DUIs are a different animal when it comes to the arrest report. There is so much external paperwork required for the Sec. of State, tow, video, that it is almost impossible to digitize the file. Huge file cabinets contain the DUI files in many departments. Also it is commonplace to complete a portion of the report that contains personal information from the defendant like next of kin, social security number, addresses etc. for entry into the Criminal history LEADS file. All that info would have to be scrubbed individually from each report. As Joe Biden would say: That’s a big F’n deal”

          • jmkraft
            Posted at 22:43h, 27 September

            I’ll stand on my last comment

  • Concerned Tax Payer
    Posted at 08:43h, 26 September Reply

    Mr. Kraft, I read your correspondence. Why didn’t you just tell this Village employee more specifically what you were looking for or how you were going to use it? That would help this individual make the most efficient use of her time. Tax payers shouldn’t have to fund every citizens’ fishing expeditions–no questions asked. Public workers shouldn’t fear that they be investigated if they ask questions . The fact that now the AG is getting involved is just more waste of taxpayer money. This is not an example of the big “Village” government crushing the individual, this is you looking for fight where there is no wrong. You and the AG are wrong on this one.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 14:27h, 26 September Reply

      I cut it in half when they said it was too much. It was denied because of where I live, not because of how many records there are. That was evident in the denial response. This is simply a tactic taken with Glen Ellyn with this request and requests from other people for similar records.

  • mike hodges
    Posted at 00:06h, 27 September Reply

    After the track record of the watch dogs I dont’ think it is legitimate to ask “why do you need the records?” That is irrelevant anyway considering these are public and should be available for the public at any time. What are they hiding is the real question. I think they’ll be real sorry they denied them. Watchdogs have a habit of asking the right questions…and knowing the answers before they ask them.

    I think public officials who are involved in wrong doing should be very worried if the watch dogs are asking for records. Likely they have a tip of wrongdoing…and all will be come very clear soon.. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GUYS~

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