Madison Co., IL. (ECWd) -
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul's Public Access Counselor Office has determined the Madison County Sheriff violated four sections of the Freedom of Information Act by improperly withholding records requested under the Act.
On May 4, 2020, Mr. Dorman submitted a request to the Sheriff's Office seeking a copy of a video recording of a named candidate filing precinct committeeman papers at the Madison County Clerk's Office on December 4, 2017. On May 8, 2020, the Sheriff's Office denied his request.
The AG's Office had previously issued a determination involving nearly identical circumstances (2018 PAC 51411), in which the office concluded that the Sheriff's Office improperly withheld a video recording of a candidate filing for public office in the Madison County Clerk's Office on December 1, 2017.
In its determination , the AG stated:
- The Sheriff's Office did not set forth any information indicating that the responsive video recording of a public area of a public building consists of "private information." Therefore, the Sheriff's Office improperly withheld the video recording under section 7(1)(b).
- The Sheriff's Office did not set forth facts indicating that disclosure of the responsive footage, depicting a public area of a public building more than three years ago, would endanger anyone's life or physical safety. Therefore, the Sheriff's Office improperly withheld the footage under the section 7(1)(d)(vi) exemption.
- In 2018 PAC 51411, this office noted that "[t]he Sheriff's Office did not explain how disclosing video footage of the counter in the public area of the Clerk's Office would somehow jeopardize the security of the Madison County Jail." Ill. Att'y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 51411, at 7. Because the Sheriff's Office did not set forth any new information in this matter, the Sheriff's Office improperly withheld the responsive recording under section 7(1)(e).
- Because the Sheriff's Office did not set forth any new information in this matter, this office concludes that the Sheriff's Office improperly denied the request under section 7(1)(v).
- In accordance with the conclusions expressed in this letter, this office requests that the Sheriff's Office provide Mr. Dorman with a copy of the responsive video footage.
Read the complete determination letter (here) below: