Supreme Court: State’s Attorneys subject to public records laws

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that when it comes to public records laws, state’s attorneys are just like other government officials.

The Associated Press reports that  the unanimous ruling forces county prosecutors to release public records under the Freedom of Information Act.

The law is intended to improve government transparency. The case began when a reporter asked for emails between employees in the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s office. The office denied the request, claiming it was part of the judicial branch of government, which is exempt from the act.

An appellate court found that state’s attorney offices aren’t public bodies subject to the open information law. The state Supreme Court reversed that ruling. State’s attorneys prosecute crime but also act as lawyers for county boards, advising officials on zoning issues, contracts and more.