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New suit says Cook County court hinders access to filings

November 7, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) — A legal news service is suing one of the nation’s busiest courts for allegedly hampering access to newly filed civil cases.

The Courthouse News Service made the allegations against the Circuit Court of Cook County in a lawsuit filed last week in Chicago federal court. It says rights to free expression under the First Amendment incorporate rights to timely public access to civil suits.

It names Cook County court clerk Dorothy Brown as a defendant. A message left at her office Monday wasn’t returned.

The nationwide news service says a large percentage of Cook County lawsuits are accessible soon after they’re filed. But it says others are withheld for days or weeks as they are processed. It contrasts that with how federal lawsuits are typically accessible online within minutes.

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