Attorney argues before Illinois Supreme Court for release of 50 years of Chicago Police misconduct records
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The fight over the release of five decades of Chicago Police misconduct records made it all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, the attorney for the CPD faced some tough questions at the state Supreme Court hearing.
Attorney Jared Kosoglad has spent almost a decade fighting for his client, Charles Green, first so as to clear Green’s name of any connection to a 1985 quadruple murder, and second so as to get the city to honor a judge’s initial order that the city release 50 years of police misconduct records to help Green clear his name.
Green affirms that he had nothing to do with the murders.
On Jan. 12, 1985, police discovered the burned bodies of Raynard Rule, Lauren Rule, and Yvonne Brooks in a second-floor apartment at 458 N. Hamlin Ave. in the East Garfield Park neighborhood – now the site of an empty lot. A fourth victim, Kim Brooks, also later died.
Green was 16 when a Chicago Police detective brought him in for questioning without a lawyer or a parent present. He said he felt the beatings left him with no other choice but to sign a confession.
Green was eventually found guilty of getting one victim to open the door to a murderous ambush committed by two other men and was sentenced to life in prison.
He spent 24 years in prison before a judge released him in 2009. A few years later, he submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the city, asking for those 50 years of police misconduct files to help prove his innocence.
The city ignored the FOIA. Green sued, and a judge ordered those records released. That was when the city offered him $500,000 to withdraw his lawsuit. The City Council approved the settlement, but some aldermen still wanted the records released.
Meanwhile, Green’s settlement was never paid.
“This case is about a public body’s decision to evade transparency to public records of police misconduct,” Kosoglad told Illinois Supreme Court justices.
He argued the Police Department has an obligation to release some of those records, even though an Illinois Appellate Court panel later ruled it didn’t. City attorneys have said it would be too burdensome and cost millions.
“There was no doubt that the CPD could not produce the records at that time,” said Chicago city attorney Myrian Kasper.
“The city must have been aware that the clock was ticking on this important defense,” replied Justice Mary Jane Theis.
Theis referred back to the city’s failure to respond to Green’s FOIA request.
Kosoglad argued the case is also about transparency. In 2020, when the city offered Green $500,000 to drop his request, aldermen even pledged to pass an ordinance to release the files anyway. The offer later disappeared, and the ordinance went nowhere.
“The Police Department is still saying they’re the only ones who know what’s wrong with it, and they’re the only ones who can fix it, and they’re the only ones with the information,” Kosoglad told the high court. “But they don’t know what’s wrong, and they don’t know how to fix it, and it’s time to let members of the public participate in the affairs of government, which is precisely the point of the FOIA.”
The justices are expected to release their decision on the case later this year.
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