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April 18, 2024

AG: Jasper County Sheriff violated Freedom of Information Act –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On February 23, 2020

Jasper Co., IL. (ECWd) –

Nearly two years after denying public records, the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has determined that the Jasper County Sheriff violated the Freedom of Information Act by improperly denying certain requested public records.

Aaron Beard requested records of phone calls, recordings and any body camera footage from the incident in which the [former] Jasper County Clerk allegedly  demanded extortion payments for photographs Beard took, using his own cell phone, of public records in the Clerk’s Office.

The Sheriff and State’s Attorney argued release of the information would hinder a criminal investigation, the AG did not see it that way and directed the release of certain records previously denied.

Read the determination below, or download it (here).


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  • Michael Hagberg
    Posted at 12:34h, 23 February

    I love the quote “statutes should be construed to avoid absurdity.”

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 09:06h, 24 February

    Two years in which legally requested information was denied. In summation and once again, for at least two years, justice was denied and local government did what it pleased.
    From a broader point of view, a FOIA request places a demand for a response in 5 days, or in at least 10 if an extension is requested. Why? Because our legislators determined that measure would be a reasonable time frame in which information should be provided.
    Here’s just another case, in which justice was delayed (and justice denied) and there is no penalty of substance for the offenders. The unreasonable delay in providing the information requested unquestionably diminishes the value of same.
    In Illinois the appeals process is flawed, not because of the findings, but because it was not dealt with in a timely manner. Sad government in Illinois. Compare this to adjacent states such as Indiana wherein their law requires a determination from their PAC office in 30 days.