Be sure to read this morning's lead article in the Northwest Herald, "County search warrants stay sealed". Page 1A. Right at the top. Nothing more important than the top of the first paper in a Sunday morning paper.
And don't just read it. Get on the phone tomorrow morning. Call the courthouse.
Talk to Katherine M. Keefe, McHenry County Circuit Clerk. (815) 334-4310.
Talk to Dan Wallis, Court Administrator. (815) 334-4385
And call the executive administrative secretary for the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court, Hon. Michael T. Caldwell. You probably won't be able to reach Judge Caldwell, but you can leave a specific, detailed message for him. (815) 33-4385
If you think court records about search warrants, issued in McHenry County and already executed, should be public record (and they should!), say so. And ask what action will be taken to unseal them, once their use has been served.
According to the Northwest Herald this morning, only 24% (33) of the 140 search warrants filed this year through Friday in McHenry County can be viewed by the public.
Contrast this with Kane County, where 98% (233) of 237 search warrants in 2009 can be viewed.
Maybe the Northwest Herald should run a story after investigating details of sealed warrants. Of course, you have to get them unsealed first. Then tell the public who has been asking that the warrants remain sealed. Investigators of local police departments or of the State's Attorney's Office? Attorneys for Defendants? And which judges are sealing them? By name of judge and with the number of warrants sealed. Is there a pattern there that might cause concern to some? Without public records, it's hard to know.
Are searches ever conducted before warrants are issued?