IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2002-03
SUBJECT: BULK ELECTRONIC DATA DISSEMINATION POLICY
The purpose of this Bulk Electronic Data Dissemination Policy is to set forth a uniform, cost-effective and equitable method for the dissemination of bulk electronic court record data to commercial business entities. Unless subsequently prohibited by statute, court rule, or court order, electronic court record data may be disseminated to commercial business entities, although such dissemination is not required. Nothing in this Order shall be construed as a determination that the Circuit Court of Cook County (hereinafter "Court") or the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (hereinafter "Clerk") is obligated to reproduce or disseminate court records in an electronic format or by means of an electronic medium. See generally Administrative Office of the Illinois Court’s Electronic Access Policy for Circuit Court Records of the Illinois Courts, effective January 1, 2003.
The electronic court record data referred to herein include all records of the Court that are being maintained by the Clerk pursuant to the provisions in the Clerks of Courts Act, 705 ILCS 105/0.01 et seq.
The Clerk may prepare uniformly packaged data files for distribution to entities requesting bulk electronic court record data in one or more electronic formats that meet industry standards for data dissemination. Uniformly packaged data files are a fixed and standard set of predetermined data elements extracted from an entire file or substantial subset of a file maintained as a computerized court record. All uniformly packaged data files and the method(s) used to disseminate such data must be approved by the Chief Judge in writing. The method used to make bulk electronic court records available to requesting entities shall not include a direct connection to the Clerk’s computer system.
The Clerk shall not disseminate any data files, including uniform data files that result from selective searches of court record data by identifying fields. This prohibition on the use of identifying fields includes, but is not limited to, fields such as birth date, social security number, race, gender, or any other individual characteristic of a party. The Clerk shall not select, aggregate, or manipulate certain court records in response to any request for bulk electronic court record data, without prior written approval from the Chief Judge.
The dissemination of electronic court record data must be in compliance with all applicable laws. The Clerk shall not disseminate electronic court record data concerning matters or materials sealed, impounded, or expunged by statute, court rule, or court order. For cases charged under the Illinois Criminal Code, 720 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq., or other criminal cases, bulk distributions will include only information for case numbers and/or charges where a judgment of conviction was entered against the defendant.
Prior to considering any request for bulk electronic court record data, the Clerk shall establish a written, office-wide policy on the dissemination of bulk electronic court record data that is consistent with this Order and the provisions of the Clerks of Courts Act, 705 ILCS 105/0.01, et seq. The Clerk’s policy shall include procedures for requesting bulk electronic court record data and responding to such requests pursuant to the authority granted in section 27.2a(r) of the Clerks of Courts Act, 705 ILCS 105/27.2a(r).
The office-wide policy established by the Clerk must be approved by the Chief Judge in writing before any individual request is granted. Once approved, any request seeking uniformly packaged data shall be considered routine and will not require further approval by the Chief Judge. Each request for electronic court record data other than uniformly packaged data shall be considered a special request and must be submitted directly to the Chief Judge for written approval prior to dissemination of any of the requested data. The Clerk’s policy shall be communicated, either orally or in writing, to anyone making a request for bulk electronic court record data.
If the Clerk adopts a policy for the dissemination of bulk electronic court record data consistent with the provisions of this Order, the Clerk shall set fee schedules for dissemination of the data. The fees set by the Clerk shall include all costs associated with processing the electronic court record data requested. The term, costs, as used herein includes, but is not limited to, expenditures made for analysis and design, computer programming, program testing, computer run time, telecommunications, overhead, and materials (e.g., tapes, disks, microfiche, paper).
Consistent with the requirement in section 27.2a(r) of the Clerks of Courts Act, 705 ILCS 105/27.2a(r), the Clerk shall submit the data dissemination fee schedule to the Chief Judge, in advance, for written approval. The Clerk may revise the fee schedule, as needed, to reflect changes in the costs of duplicating electronic court records or in the types of requests proposed to be granted. Any revisions shall be submitted to the Chief Judge, in advance, for written approval.
The Clerk may accept in-kind services or goods as a form of payment for bulk electronic data, provided that such in-kind services or goods are valued at or above the costs associated with processing the court record data requested. Any proposal for in-kind services, in full or in part, must be submitted to the Chief Judge, in advance, for written approval of the Clerk’s valuation of the in-kind payment.
All entities requesting bulk electronic court record data which will be resold or otherwise further disseminated to a third party shall agree in writing with the Court and the Clerk that all court record data will be updated and made current as of the date of dissemination. The term, made current, as used herein shall include, but is not limited to, disseminating only court record data that is in full compliance with all statutes, court rules, and court orders (e.g. those pertaining to sealing, impounding, and expunging of court records). The term, disseminate, as used herein means the disclosure or transmittal of court record data in any form, oral, written, or otherwise. This agreement shall also require the entity selling or otherwise disseminating court record data to provide a notice to the third party that the court record data is current as of the calendar date on which it is disseminated.
All entities requesting bulk electronic court record data that will be resold or otherwise further disseminated to a third party shall also agree in writing with the Court and the Clerk to include a disclaimer with each subsequent dissemination. The disclaimer may be in the same format as the data being disseminated and shall state in substance:
Neither the Circuit Court of Cook County nor the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County warrants the accuracy, completeness, or currency of this data. This data is not an official record of the Court or the Clerk and may not be represented as an official court record.
The Clerk shall not enter any agreement that purports to grant any commercial business entity the exclusive right to receive bulk electronic court record data of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Any agreement purporting to grant an exclusive right or otherwise granting a commercial entity any similar advantage over other commercial entities shall be invalid and shall have no binding effect on the Circuit Court of Cook County.
The Clerk shall maintain a complete record of all transactions involving bulk electronic court record data. Each record shall contain copies of all correspondence including, but not limited to, all requests for data, all approvals of requests for data, all responses denying requests for data, all written approvals of special requests by the Chief Judge, all written agreements between the Court, the Clerk and the entity requesting data, and all disclaimers or other information provided to commercial entities or other parties receiving data directly from the Clerk. All documents enumerated in this paragraph or otherwise pertaining to the normal business processing of requests for bulk electronic court record data, shall be business records of the Clerk and the Court.
Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Order, any existing or pending methods utilized by the Clerk for the purpose of distributing bulk electronic court record data and any policies and/or procedures related thereto must be in full compliance with this Order and all the provisions herein.
Dated this 4th day of November 2002, effective December 2, 2002. This Order shall be spread upon the records of this Court and published.
TIMOTHY C. EVANS
Circuit Court of Cook County