Frequently Asked Questions For Media

Q.     How can I obtain statistical data from the electronic court record?

A.      Pursuant to Circuit Court of Cook County, Bulk Electronic Data Dissemination Policy, all requests for compiled court record data must be submitted in writing to the Chief Judge for approval.

Send requests to:

         Honorable Timothy C. Evans
         Chief Judge
         Circuit Court of Cook County
         50 West Washington Street, Room 2600
         Richard J. Daley Center
         Chicago, Illinois 60602

Requests for compiled court record data should be as specific as possible and include a mailing address, telephone number and email address to facilitate the processing of the request.

Upon approval, the Chief Judge will forward the request for processing to the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court which maintains the official court record.  From that point forward, the requester will communicate with clerk staff on the request.  Approval of requests is subject to the Clerk’s ability to compile such information. 

Please note: Pursuant to General Administrative Order No. 2002-03, 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.

Q:     How do I file a request under the Freedom of Information Act?

A:     The courts are exempt from the disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.  However, all records in court cases that are not required by law or court order to be kept confidential are public records kept by the clerk of the court and available upon request from the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Q:     Which records in court cases are not public records?

A:     Although a judge may decide that any record in any kind of case will be kept confidential by ordering it sealed or impounded, that is relatively uncommon.  The most common types of court cases in which records are required by law to be kept confidential are criminal and traffic cases in which all charges have been dismissed, records of adoption, mental health commitment or treatment, and juvenile court cases.  Probation records of all persons are also confidential.  Reports of medical, psychological, and social evaluations, especially those evaluating a person’s mental health, are often sealed or impounded regardless of the kind of case in which they were filed.

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