FOIA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will the County create a public record if one does not exist?
FOIA does not require a public body to make a compilation, summary, or report of information, nor does it require a public body to create a new public record.
Should I submit a FOIA request to ask a question about a particular department?
FOIA provides a means for citizens to receive copies of public records. It is not a means to request answers to questions. You may find the answer to your question by searching the County website or by contacting a department directly.
Can I obtain copies of Court transcripts through FOIA?
State law and the Michigan Court Rules govern how transcripts may be obtained and the costs associated with obtaining a transcript. See MCR 8.108 and MCL 600.2543 for procedures and rates.
Can I obtain Court Records through FOIA?
The Judiciary, including the District, Circuit Court and Probate Courts and the office of the County Clerk when acting in the capacity of Clerk for the Circuit Court, are not considered public bodies and therefore are not subject to FOIA. See MCL 15.232(d)(v). For information regarding Court Records, please click here.
How can I obtain autopsy photographs?
Autopsy photographs are exempt from disclosure except for limited situations listed in MCL 333.2855(a).
Can I request vital records (birth, death, marriage) under FOIA?
No. MCL 15.243(d) states, “[r]ecords or information specifically described and exempted from disclosure by statute” are not subject to FOIA. MCL 333.2888 states, “[v]ital records and information or any part of the information contained in a vital record is not subject to the provisions of the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.” Vital records such as birth, death and marriage certificates may be obtained for a fee from the Clerk’s Office and recorded property records may be obtained for a fee from the Register of Deeds.
May I obtain medical records, books, papers or other documents used by the Medical Examiner to conduct an investigation into the cause of death?
No, these records are exempt from disclosure under MCL 52.202.
Is payment in full required before the public records will be released?
If fees are assessed, a requester must make full payment before the public documents responsive to a request are provided to the requestor.