Illinois eavesdropping law faces challenges
Illinois: In October of 2009 Michael Allison brought a digital recorder to a session at the Illinois Second Judicial Circuit Court where he was contesting a citation; he brought the recorder because he was informed that there would be no official transcript of the session. When Judge Kimbara Graham-Harrell noticed the device she immediately notified Allison that he was eavesdropping on their conversation and violating illinois law. Allison was charged with a Class 1 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and soon faced more charges, and up to 75 years in prison total, for prior recorded conversations with other officials and police. All recordings were taken in regards to his legal situation.
The charges against Allison, and others in similar situations, stem from the Illinois eavesdropping act, which has not only been used to shield private citizens but public officials performing public duties such as police during a traffic stop or a judge during a public court hearing. In August, the ACLU filed a challenge to the law, arguing that prohibiting the recording of public officials in the course of public duties infringes on first and fourth amendment rights. On September 13, 2011 United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner expressed trepidation over a possible weakening of the law. He noted that the ACLU would face many challenges if they continue their fight. The ACLU is continuing their challenge, however, and will seek a federal injunction to prevent the Cook County States' Attorney from prosecuting others with violations of the act.
On September 19, 2011, Judge David Frankland ruled in favor of Allison, throwing out all charges against him. In his ruling, Frankland stated that the Illinois eavesdropping statute is unconstitutional. At the time of the time of the ruling, Allison was contemplating a civil case for wrongful prosecution in order to challenge the state law. Just a few days after the ruling, the Crawford County State's Attorney indicated that the State would likely file an appeal.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Chicago Sun-Times, "Eavesdropping law shields officials," September 28, 2011
- ↑ The Chicago Tribune, "ACLU challenges Illinois eavesdropping act," August 19, 2011
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Huffington Post, "Illinois Eavesdropping Law Supported By Influential Circuit Judge," September 14, 2011
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 My Wabash Valley, "Ruling On Recording Law Enforcement Case," September 19, 2011
- ↑ Daily News Online, "State to appeal Allision decision," September 23, 2011
|This article was written by Amanda Qualls, an Assistant Staff Writer for the State Courts Project on Judgepedia. She can be reached at email@example.com.|