Judge seals Kustok case file
BY Lauren FitzPatrick Sun-Times Media November 21, 2011 6:41PM
Anita Kustok died in this home in the 10900 block of Royal Oaks Lane in Orland Park, Ill., in 2010. | File photo
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:22PM
A Cook County judge on Monday agreed to seal an Orland Park man’s murder case file in light of a public records request that’s under the Illinois attorney general’s review.
Circuit Court Judge John J. Hynes barred the release of any police reports or other potential evidence in the case against Allan Kustok, including the names or any other information about potential witnesses.
The ruling essentially bypasses the independent review of the records by the attorney general’s office under Illinois’ freedom of information law. The review is designed to mediate disputes over public records by impartial public access counselors.
The attorney general’s office would not comment Monday on Hynes’ ruling.
Sun-Times Media filed a request under the state law, seeking Orland Park police reports on the Sept. 29, 2010, shooting death of Kustok’s wife, Anita “Jeanie” Kustok, and the subsequent charges against her husband.
Orland Park police denied the request, citing an exemption in the law for records that are part of pending investigations.
The company appealed to the attorney general’s office, asking, as the law requires, for Orland Park police to show how releasing the reports would jeopardize the investigation against Kustok, the lone suspect in the killing.
The attorney general’s office sought to independently review the records before deciding, but prosecutors stepped in.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez cited state Supreme Court evidence rules in asking Hynes to bar the release of any documents or reports in the case to any third party, saying “the release of these police reports threatens to compromise the prosecution of this case.” She did not elaborate.
Kustok’s attorney, Rick Beuke, did not object to sealing the file.
In a letter to Hynes, a Sun-Times Media attorney, James McDonough, spelled out his “concerns in safeguarding public access guaranteed by the FOIA.”
“Under FOIA, the village police reports are public records and the (law) prescribes procedures for dealing with the village’s objections,” McDonough wrote. “Those procedures are playing out before the attorney general and we expect the village to comply with them.”