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DesPain v. The City of Collinsville, No 5-07-0300 (May 9, 2008).

Audio tape recording

Administrator Contracts
Case: DesPain v. The City of Collinsville, No 5-07-0300 (May 9, 2008).
Date: Friday, May 9, 2008

A circuit court in Madison County, Illinois (5th Appellate District) erred in concluding that public body followed Freedom of Information Act when it refused plaintiff permission to examine original audio tape recording of the public body’s meeting and instead only offered to make plaintiff a copy of the recording for a fee. The public body refused to allow the plaintiff to listen to the original tape for concerns of preservation of the original tape. However, the Appellate Court stated that it cannot ignore the intent of the legislature as evinced by the plain language of the Freedom of Information Act. The Act states that public bodies must make public records available for inspection and copying, unless they can avoid doing so by invoking an exception that is provided in the Act. The fact that a public body lacks the facilities for the public to listen to audiotapes is not a valid basis upon which to deny a request to inspect a tape-recorded public record.