Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) 


Purpose 

The Freedom of Information Act "FOIA" (Illinois General Assembly – 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq.) allows the public to request copies or the inspection of public records.   

 

About the Office 

The State's Attorney's Office is mandated by the Illinois Constitution to represent the People of Illinois in the prosecution of criminal cases and to represent county government and officials within Lee County in civil matters. The total amount of the operating budget of the State's Attorney's Office is $1,176,798 annually. The Office has eleven full-time employees and one part-time employee. 

  • The Criminal Division, Civil Division, and Juvenile Division of the State's Attorney's Office are located at the Lee County Court Services Building, 309 South Galena Avenue, Dixon, IL 61021 

 

 

How to Submit a Request 

Please be advised that the Freedom of Information Act is designed to allow you to inspect or receive copies of records. It is not designed to require a public body to answer questions. To the extent that you wish to ask questions of Lee County, please contact the Lee County State's Attorney directly.  

  1. Review All Departments to confirm the Lee County State's Attorney's Office maintains the records being sought.  
  2. Submit a FOIA Request using this email address.    
  3. Please be as specific as possible when describing the records being sought. If you choose to not use the email address, you may do a written request. Make sure to include your contact information, whether the request is for commercial purposes, and whether the request is for electronic records, copies of the records, or for inspection of the records. See Copy Fees below. 
  4. Email, fax, mail, or hand deliver the written request to the Lee County State's Attorney's FOIA Officer, Stephanie Sasscer.  

 

The State's Attorney's Office maintains files related to all the above areas as required by the State Archivist. The first 50 pages (black and white) are without charge. There is a $.15/page (black and white) charge for every page over 50 pages.  

 

Electronic records can be requested and will be provided, as allowed under the law. 

 

You are permitted to request a waiver of copying fees. To do so you must attach a statement explaining why your request for information is in the public’s – and not simply the requester’s – interest and merits a fee waiver. FOIA requests are considered in the public interest “if the principal purpose of the request is to access and disseminate information regarding the health, safety and welfare or the legal rights of the general public and is not for the principal purpose of personal or commercial benefit.” 5 ILCS 140/6(c). 

 

Elected Official: 

State's Attorney Charles A. Boonstra 

FOIA Officer: 

Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Sasscer 

Phone: 

(815)284-5245 

Fax: 

(815)284-1604 

Email: 

sao@countyoflee.org 

Mail: 

State's Attorney's Office FOIA Request
 Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Sasscer
 
 309 South Galena Avenue, Suite 300 
 Dixon, Illinois 61021 

 

 

Response Time on FOIA Requests 

All written requests shall be responded to within five (5) working days (5 ILCS140/3) following the date the request is received. 

 

The five (5) day count begins the day after the receipt of the FOIA request by the State’s Attorney, or designee.  The requester may be notified of a five (5) day extension (working days) if the files are voluminous or if other reasons make it impossible to assemble and mail the request out within the normal five (5) day period. 

 

Denial of FOIA Request 

Information provided or denied under the FOIA must conform to the legal requirements under the Act.  Certain documents may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to specific sections in the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/7).

 

When a public body denies a request for public records, that body must, within five (5) working days, or within any extended compliance period provided for in the Act, notify the person who made the request, by letter, of the decision to deny the request. The letter must explain the reasons for the denial and give the names and titles of all persons responsible for the denial.

 

Appeal of FOIA Request 

Any person denied access to inspect or copy any public record for any reason may appeal the denial by sending a written notice of appeal to the Public Access Counselor at the following address:

 

Public Access Counselor
 Office of the Attorney General
 500 S. 2nd Street
 Springfield, Illinois 62706
Phone: 1-877-299-FOIA (1-877-299-3642)
Fax: 217-782-1396
E-mail: 
publicaccess@atg.state.il.us 

 

You also have the right to seek judicial review for your denial by filing a lawsuit in the State circuit court (5 ILCS 140/11).

 

Information to Consider Prior to Submitting Your Request 

The information you are seeking may likely already be accessible on this website, or by contacting the department directly, and may not require you to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. You can learn more about each department by going to the Lee County website.