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Illinois "Occupational License" Clause Exempts Liquor Licensee's Criminal Background From Disclosure

The City of Springfield (Illinois) appealed a 1985 court production order for criminal background information regarding liquor licensee Donald Jackson, Jr., requested under the State's Freedom of Information Act (Act) by The Copley Press, Inc. (Press). The order was reversed and the case remanded to determine entitlement.

After initial denial the Press sought injunctive and declaratory relief to acquire the records, allegedly submitted to the City by the sheriff in 1982 upon Jackson's liquor license filing, and requested attorney's fees, The court granted the Press's summary judgment on the pleadings, allowing disclosure, but stipulated that the order be stayed in the event of an appeal. The City appealed arguing that the records were per se exempt as "occupational license" information, and the Press claimed that non-production would violate the First Amendment.

The Fourth District for the Appellate Court of Illinois reversed the order for statutory privacy protections holding that the "occupational license" exemption applied. The case was remanded to determine the alleged factual admissions regarding the pleading sentitling production to the Press. See: The Copley Press, Inc. v. City of Springfield, 493 N.E.2d 127(1986).

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Related legal case

The Copley Press, Inc. v. City of Springfield