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  PART 16.00  Impoundment of Documents


16. SEALING OR IMPOUNDMENT OF DOCUMENTS

There is a strong statutory presumption of public access to the court's files and records which may be overcome only on a compelling showing that the public's right of access is outweighed by the interests of the public and the parties in protecting files, records, or documents from public review. Nothing in this rule shall be construed to expand or restrict statutory provisions for the sealing of files, records, or documents or those rules promulgated by the Supreme Court or Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts pursuant to the Manual on Recordkeeping. For purposes of this Local Rule 16, the term “sealing” shall mean to remove all access to the file, record or document except for users authorized by court order. The term “impoundment” shall mean to remove all access to the file, record or document except for users authorized by statute or court order.

(Amended 9/18/2003)

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16.01 WRITTEN ORDER REQUIRED

Except as otherwise provided by statute or the Manual on Recordkeeping, files, records or documents may be impounded or sealed only upon written order of a judge.

The clerk of the court shall not impound or seal any file or any part thereof without a written order unless otherwise required by law or the Manual on Recordkeeping.

(Amended 9/18/2003) 

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16.02 SPECIFIED EXCEPTIONS

The following exceptions are specifically identified and controlled by statute:

a.  Juvenile Files

  1. Juvenile files shall be impounded subject to the terms of 705 ILCS 405/1-8, 705 ILCS 405/5-901 and paragraph 16.02(a)(2) of this Local Rule No. 16.
  2. An attorney who represents a client in a pending criminal matter may without leave of the court review any juvenile court file wherein that client is the respondent minor in a delinquency proceeding, except such part of the juvenile court file which has been previously sealed by the court.

b.  Fitness Reports, Psychological and/or Psychiatric Evaluations

Fitness reports, psychological and/or psychiatric evaluations shall be impounded subject to the terms of 725 ILCS 5/104-19.

c.  Presentence Investigation Reports

Presentence investigation reports shall be impounded subject to the terms of the 730 ILCS 5/5-3-4 (a)&(b).

d.  Mental Health Records

Mental health records shall be impounded subject to the terms of 740 ILCS 110/1 et. seq.

e.  Adoption Files

Adoption files shall be impounded subject to the terms of 750 ILCS 50/18.

f.  Reports in Guardianship Cases

Reports filed with respect to adjudication of disability and appointment of guardian shall be impounded subject to the terms of 755 ILCS 5/11a-9.

g.  Proceedings under the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995

All Court proceedings under this Section shall be sealed.  (750 ILCS 70/25).

(Amended 8/17/2007)

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16.03 PROCEDURE FOR SEALING

a.  All motions to seal a file, records or documents must be made in writing and presented to the judge assigned to hear the case with appropriate notice to all parties of record. The motion must explain the basis for sealing the file, records or documents and specify the proposed duration of the sealing order. Any motion to seal, upon specific request, may also be sealed if it contains a discussion of the confidential material.

b.  The judge hearing the motion shall enter a written order either granting or denying the request on a form substantially similar to Appendix HH. If the judge grants the motion then the order shall designate whether the entire file, record or document, or only a portion of the entire file, record or document, shall be sealed. The order shall further designate whether an order sealing a file includes removing the parties names from public access to the index and the duration the file is to be sealed.

(Amended 9/18/2003) 

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16.04 REVIEW OF SEALED FILES

a.  Unless otherwise specified on the written order, on an annual basis, the clerk of the court shall present for the judge's review, a list of all files, records or documents sealed by the judge. If the judge ordering the file, record or document to be sealed is no longer available, then the case shall be referred to the Chief Judge or his or her designee for review.

b.  The judge ordering the case, records or document sealed shall review the file to determine whether the case, records or document will remain sealed. A judge may unseal a case, records or document if a party fails to object to the unsealing within 30 days following written notice of the intent to unseal.

c.  For purposes of this rule, review of files sealed pursuant to statute or the Manual on Recordkeeping shall be exempt.

(Amended 9/18/2003) 

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16.05 PROCEDURE FOR IMPOUNDMENT

a.  All motions to impound a file, records or documents must be made in writing and presented to the judge assigned to hear the case with appropriate notice to all parties of record. The motion must explain the basis for impounding the file, records or documents and specify the proposed duration of the impoundment order. Any motion to impound, upon specific request, may also be impounded if it contains a discussion of the confidential material.

b.  The judge hearing the motion shall enter a written order either granting or denying the request on a form substantially similar to Appendix HH.  If the judge grants the motion then the order shall designate whether the entire file, record or document, or only a portion of the entire file, record or document, shall be impounded. The order shall further designate whether an order impounding a file includes removing the parties names from public access to the index and the duration the file is to be impounded.

(Amended 9/18/2003) 

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16.06 REVIEW OF IMPOUNDED FILES

a.  Unless otherwise specified on the written order, on an annual basis, the clerk of the court shall present for the judge's review, a list of all files, records or documents impounded by the judge. If the judge ordering the file, record or document to be impounded is no longer available, then the case shall be referred to the Chief Judge or his or her designee for review.

b.  The judge ordering the case, records or document impounded shall review the file to determine whether the case, records or document will remain impounded. A judge may rescind an order impounding a case, records or document if a party fails to object to the rescinding order within 30 days following written notice of the intent to rescind the order impounding the case.

c.  For purposes of this rule, review of files impounded pursuant to statute or the Manual on Recordkeeping shall be exempt. For purposes of this rule, review of files impounded pursuant to statute or the Manual on Recordkeeping shall be exempt.

(Amended 9/18/2003) 

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16.07 MOTIONS TO RESCIND AN ORDER SEALING OR IMPOUNDING A FILE

a.  A person or entity seeking access to a sealed or impounded case, records or document, regardless of whether they were a party in the original case and regardless of whether the case is pending or closed may, upon the proper filing of an appearance and if required, paying the appropriate filing fee, file a motion requesting the Order sealing or impounding the case, records or document be rescinded.

b.  The motion should be titled "Motion to Rescind Order Sealing File" or "Motion to Rescind Order Impounding File", whichever is more appropriate.

c.  Upon the proper filing of a "Motion to Rescind Order Sealing File" or "Motion to Rescind Order Impounding File", within 14 days the clerk shall set the motion for hearing before the judge who ordered the case, records or documents to be sealed or impounded. If the judge ordering the case, records or documents sealed or impounded is no longer available or cannot hear the motion within the 14 days set forth by this rule, then the case shall be referred to the Chief Judge or his or her designee for review.

(Amended 9/18/2003) 

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