People ex. rel. Gibson v. Peller was a case before Illinois First District Appellate Court in 1962 concerning the right to photocopy records.
This early FOIA case established that individuals had a right to photograph or photocopy records in addition to their right to inspect them and copy them by hand.
This case also established that school boards are subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act
- On April 4, 1960, John and Marie Gibson, residents of the school district in question, were scheduled to view the financial records of the district from 1955-1960. The Gibsons were accompanied by a professional photographer and were planning on making copies of the records to view them later.
- The school district denied them the right to photocopy the records, claiming that the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, then the State Records Act, did not apply to the school board.
- The trial court ruled in favor of the Gibsons.
- The school board appealed the decision.
Ruling of the court
The trial court ruled in favor of the Gibsons, granting them access to photocopy the records.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, again ordering the release of the documents for photocopying.
The court of appeals determined that the school board served as an administrative body of the state and was thus subject to the state records laws. Further, the court felt that the right to copy records existed not only in statute but as a common law companion to the right to view public records. Further, the court determined that the existence of a new method of copying, photography, did not alter the right to copy the records. The court thus affirmed the decision of the lower court and granted the Gibsons permission to photograph the records in question.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Ruling of the Court