ProPublica Illinois by Steve Mills and Mick Dumke
March 19, 2019
In an unusual move, a Cook County Juvenile Court judge has barred ProPublica Illinois, as well as other media, from publishing any information that could identify families involved in a child welfare case.
Patricia Martin, presiding judge of the child protection division of juvenile court, issued the order Thursday forbidding news organizations from publishing the names, addresses or any demographic information that would identify the children or the foster parents in a case ProPublica Illinois has been investigating — a rare instance of a judge acting prior to publication.
Martin has scheduled arguments on her order barring publication for April 5.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a First Amendment right to publish without government interference in numerous cases.
Martin issued her order in response to a motion from Bruce Boyer, a professor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and director of the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic, where attorneys, with assistance from law students, represent children in child protection cases and other matters.
Boyer represents the children involved in the case ProPublica Illinois is investigating. He told the judge he wants to protect their privacy. Martin, in her order, also has blocked all media from court proceedings in the case.