The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows members of the public to make requests for inspection or copies of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender’s public records. FOIA requests are responded to within five working days, indicating compliance with or denial of the request. In certain circumstances, upon written notice to the requestor, the Office may ask for an additional five business days in which to respond, as outlined in the Act.
FOIA requests should be made in writing and submitted to the FOIA Officer at the contact information provided below. Please include the following information:
- Your name (preferred, but not required)
- Organization, if applicable
- Mailing address (required if seeking paper copies)
- A phone number where you can be contacted for questions
- E-mail address (required if seeking electronic copies of records)
- A clear description of the records you are requesting (required)
The Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender’s guidelines on FOIA requests:
- No request will be considered “received” until it is physically received by the office at the contact information listed below. If a request is made after business hours, including on a weekend or legal holiday, it will be considered “received” on the following business day.
- There is no fee for the first 50 pages of black and white, letter or legal-sized copies. The Public Defender’s office charges a fee of 15 cents per page for each page of a request that is more than 50 pages. The requestor must pay the fee before the office will release the requested copies. For requests of color documents and oversized documents, the office reserves the right to charge its actual reproduction costs.
- If a person requests a copy of a record maintained in an electronic format, the office will furnish the record in the electronic format specified by the requester, if feasible. If it is not feasible to furnish the record in the specified electronic format, then the office will furnish it in the format in which it is maintained or in paper format, at the option of the requester. The requester must reimburse the office for the actual cost of the recording medium, whether CD, USB flash drive or other medium.
- FOIA is not intended as a medium for answering questions.
FOIA does not allow for the release of confidential information, specifically including files of current or former clients represented by the Cook County Public Defender. However, subject to certain restrictions, former clients may provide written consent to inspect and/or copy their file(s) by contacting the FOIA Officer at the information listed below.
All FOIA requests should be directed to:
Freedom of Information Officer
Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender
Freedom of Information Officer
69 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
If a member of the public is denied access to public records, or if a response to a written request is not given within this time limit, the individual requesting access to public records may consider the request denied and may appeal to the Public Access Counselor or bring an action in circuit court to seek access to those public records.