Law and disorder

Representatives from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General will appear Monday before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Paul P. Biebel Jr. after an investigation by The Chicago Reporter revealed that the Illinois State Police has ignored thousands of court-ordered sealings and expungements of criminal records.

The meeting, which also involves representatives from the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, the state police and legal aid attorneys, was prompted after the Reporter phoned judges and the police for comments on the findings from its analysis of sealing and expungement data obtained through Freedom of Information requests. (Download the data: 1 and 2)

The Reporter found that the Illinois State Police ignored 8,583 court orders to seal or expunge the records of reformed ex-offenders throughout the state from 2004 to 2008; in Cook County, 6,948 orders were not enforced.

In an email statement to the Reporter on Saturday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, “This is a shocking defiance of the law. Ignoring these expungement orders negatively impacts the lives of too many people who deserve a fair opportunity to get a job in order to take care of their families.”

Madigan added that Monday’s meeting will “begin work on a court mandated compliance and remediation plan to require the State Police to follow the law. The order will cover all of the outstanding expungement and sealing orders arising out of the Circuit Court of Cook County.” A similar plan will soon be worked out to cover other outstanding cases outside Cook County, she said.

The Reporter will release further details and analysis on the issue on Tuesday, March 17.

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