Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another FOIA Request Denied - 150MPH Speeder

On May 28 I wrote to the Illinois State Police FOIA officer to request information about the 150MPH speeder on Kishwaukee Valley Road back in January. I knew she had received the request, because she called me for the driver's name. I told her to call the commander of the State Police office in Elgin, out of which the ticket was written. Finally the response came.

I'm still laughing... and planning the Appeal.

Here's what I asked for... date, time and location of violation. speed and how measured. direction of travel. make and model of car. citation number. court date. court location, if not McHenry County. copy of citation and police report.

What was the response?

"Some documents requested are enclosed."

What was enclosed? A statement that the information, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless the driver consented. And that it would consitute an invasion of personal privacy.

There was more. A line of computer codes. At least now I know it happened on Jan. 17 at 2:20PM in Marengo Township in McHenry County. The speed was 145MPH.

What a pile of rubbish! The driver must have a court date that either passed or is coming up because of continuances. How can the public know that justice was served, when the Illinois State Police, funded by taxpayer dollars, withholds general information? You'll notice that I did not ask for the driver's name, home address, or any other personal identifiers.

I want to know when to go to court and watch him weasel out of this ticket. I want to see which high-powered McHenry County attorney represents him and what legal maneuvers are used to get the ticket thrown out. I want to see what judge stands up and protects the public.

Col. Michael R. Snyders and Deputy Director Charles Brueggeemann participated in the decision to deny this FOIA Request. Maybe I'll have to file a FOIA request to learn how many FOIA requests they received in the past 12 months and how many were approved.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be know they can jerk around the public and try to hide behind FOIA exclusions, unless pushed into Circuit Court, where they would have to explain that they really had no reason to deny a request in the first place.

What kind of "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" could occur if the public learned when a driver of a car at 145MPH is supposed to be in court? I have some rights to be safe on the highway. Had I been in front of him, poking along at the 55MPH speed limit, I'd be dead from a rear-end crash when he hit me at a closing rate of 90MPH.

The appeal will be filed with Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent next week. Care to guess what his decision will be? Let's see; what are the hours at the Circuit Court???


Anonymous said...

You're actually going to court to see the outcome of a case that has nothing to do with you? You must not be married.

Anonymous said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Anonymous said...

You must not be married or you just have no life to speak of!!

Anonymous said...

Exemption (b)(7)(C) provides protection for personal information in law enforcement records the disclosure of which "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

"Perhaps they know they kind of stuff you post Gussyboy and feel that your inquiry is nothing but an invasion into the privacy of someones identity so you can slander them all over the internet, do some research on the FOIA Exemptions.

Gus said...

It's my understanding that, when a person is cited for more than 40MPH over the posted speed limit (I'd say that 145MPH in a 55MPH zone qualifies for that one), he is arrested. An arrest is a public record. An arrested person has a date in court - another public record. Court dates come and go, thanks to all the fancy footwork of the lawyers - creating more public records. So what's wrong with disclosing the violator's name, ticket number and court date? Oh, yeah.... I remember, Innocent until proven Guilty. It will be very interesting to learn who the driver was/is and just how well connected he might be in McHenry County. I guess I'll have to appeal to Director Trent and then go knocking on the door at the Circuit Court. The Northwest Herald didn't report this in January. Gee, just who could the driver be? How long will it take to find out?

pryan67 said...

Or perhaps Gus just wants to make sure that justice is served, or if not (when not), those responsible are exposed for the frauds they are

Anonymous said...

Or you could go to the courthouse and look at the docket sheet which lists the persons name, the violation, and the agency that arrested them, all right out in the open for everyone to see.

Gus said...

Thanks for the suggestion about inspecting the docket sheet. I thought it might be helpful to know more than the date & time and that ISP made the arrest. Without the violator's name, I figured it would be very time-consuming to inspect the docket sheets for weeks. I guess I could start with about two weeks after the violation. The speeding charge of 145MPH ought to jump right out, but I wonder if the speed is shown on the docket sheet. The FOIA Appeal was faxed last night to ISP Director Larry Trent. I hope to pry a Citation Number out of him and can track that at the traffic court. The charge was speeding 40MPH over Zone.