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State eavesdropping law blocked by US Supreme Court

Monday, Nov 26, 2012

* Good news

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of an Illinois law that prohibited people from recording police officers on the job.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that found that the state’s anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers.

The law set out a maximum prison term of 15 years.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to block prosecution of ACLU staff for recording police officers performing their duties in public places, one of the group’s long-standing monitoring missions.

The law is a disgrace. Good riddance.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 10:04 am:

    This is a bit of a surprise for the Roberts court, but sometimes common sense prevails. I go with the longer version of the saying: good riddance to bad rubbish.

  2. - Todd - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 10:13 am:

    the opponents of the law should hold out and not try to re-write it now. IF the court knocks down the law, it may give them more than just cops in public places. Illinois’ whole dual party consent needs to be re-worked and I bet a better law can be had after the court rules.

  3. - Kerfuffle - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 10:14 am:

    “The law is a disgrace. Good riddance.” –The real disgrace is that IL legislators should have voided this law long ago but chose the coward’s way out by leaving the decision to the courts. Shame on them!

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 10:34 am:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  5. - Leroy - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    Come on Lisa Madigan, time to argue in front of the Supreme Court again on behalf of the residents of Illinois.

    You did a bang up job last time with your drug dog case!

  6. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 11:16 am:

    ==This is a bit of a surprise for the Roberts court, but sometimes common sense prevails.==

    You are “surprsed” the “Roberts Court” stood in favor of free speech? Really?

  7. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 11:26 am:

    I find the result completely consistent with the Robert’s courts history.

    I also find it consistent that the Madigan controlled legislature would vote for such an atrocious law.

  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    ===I also find it consistent that the Madigan controlled legislature would vote for such an atrocious law. ===

    The state’s eavesdropping law has been on the books for a very long time. Not sure you can blame MJM for this one, but I suppose it’s possible since he’s been around for so long.

  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 12:16 pm:

    KKerfuffle is correct. The General Assembly should’ve done the right thing and repealed it. They did try this year, but the estimable Sen. Mike Noland sat on the bill after the House passed it.

  10. - Bigtwich - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    “The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of an Illinois law that prohibited people from recording police officers on the job.”

    I have not followed the case closely but the May 8, 2012 7th Cir. opinion applied only to “the ACLU and its employees or agents who openly audio record the audible communications of law-enforcement officers “

  11. - Liandro - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    Aye, good riddance. I’m embarrassed it survived this long and took outside forces to correct.

  12. - MrJM - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    So what’s left of the state’s notorious eavesdropping law? Is authorization by everyone recorded still mandated?

    – MrJM

  13. - Sgtstu - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 3:00 pm:

    Kerfuffle- Hard to shame the shameless.

  14. - Flan - Monday, Nov 26, 12 @ 8:16 pm:

    About time for this terrible law to go by the boards. It’s been a travesty; people need more transparency. 99% of police officers are upstanding men and women, but that 1% gives them all a black eye. Maybe throwing this law out will catch more of that 1%.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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