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Maps, quotes, pics and straw polls

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* The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has held 1,000 workshops that have helped 50,000 people become citizens in the past six years. The group has also kept track of who has taken the oath and where they live. Click the pic for a larger version

* Here’s a great example of how people lobbying for (or against) something can twist logic to suit their ends

Kevin Lyons, state’s attorney for Peoria County, traveled to the state Capitol several times to testify against the [death penalty] abolition bill. He noted that if Quinn signs the legislation, he would also have to act in favor of the inmates now on death row.

“Fairness would demand that if the death penalty is abolished, those persons would surely have to have their sentences commuted by governor act to life without parole,” Lyons said. “Fairness would require it.”

The other way of looking at it would be a compromise. Keep the current convicts on death row while banning the penalty in the future. There’s no hard “requirement” here.

* From the Paul Simon Institute

Illinois has one of the three most restrictive eavesdropping laws in the country, along with Maryland the Massachusetts. And Illinois police and prosecutors are not shy about using the law to punish the taping of arrests and interrogations.

Chicago authorities recently have charged a street artist and a stripper for violating the law. Both face 15 years in prison.

The street artist, Charles Drew, actually intended to get arrested in an act of civil disobedience targeting a Chicago ordinance banning the sale of art on the street without a permit. That would have been a misdemeanor, but he ended up charged with a felony for arranging a tape of his arrest.

Tiwanda Moore, the 20-year-old stripper, went to police headquarters to complain about an officer she said had fondled her and left her his personal phone number. An officer receiving Moore’s complaint tried to dissuade her from pursuing it. She began recording the conversation with her cell phone. When officers discovered what she was doing, they charged her under the eavesdropping statute.

Moore was scheduled to go trial this week and Drew in April. Moore is relying on a exception to the eavesdropping law that allows a conversation to be recorded surreptitiously if a crime is about to be committed. She maintains that the officer’s effort to discourage her from filing a complaint was committing a crime.

The ACLU in Illinois went to court to challenge the state eavesdropping law as a violation of the First Amendment, but a Chicago judge threw out the suit last month. The ACLU is appealing.

From the National Press Photographers Association…

“Despite consistent court rulings protecting the First Amendment rights of both citizens and the media to take photographs in public places, and despite many law enforcement agencies spelling it out in their official policies, the officer on the street either doesn’t get the word or decides to act on his own in the name of ‘security’ or ‘terrorism laws,’ often citing rules that don’t exist and exerting authority that’s non-existent. And recently in some states police have started citing old wiretapping laws that have been on the books for decades as their excuse for ordering photographers to cease videotaping officers as they’re doing their jobs in public, either during traffic stops or street arrests or while interfering with photographers who are breaking no rules and who are posing no threats to safety.”

* The Illinois GOP is holding another presidential straw poll

The Illinois Republican Party plans a statewide pre-primary straw poll ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

The party made the announcement Sunday night at an event marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Ronald Reagan. The Illinois GOP says the straw poll will be Nov. 5 and measure the support of Republican presidential hopefuls.

The last time the party did this was at the 2007 State Fair. It wasn’t exactly on target, nor was it influential

“Congratulations to Mitt Romney, whose strong showing today indicates he has begun to put together a strong statewide organization,” state GOP Chairman Andy McKenna said in a statement released by the Romney campaign. “There’s no question that Illinois’ demographics closely match those of the United States and this could be an indication as to whom Illinois voters are leaning toward this coming February.”

John McCain won just 4.12 percent of that straw poll vote. Oops.

Then again, holding the vote in November rather than August might help.

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 1:47 pm


  1. What is the purpose driving strict interpretation of wiretapping laws to preclude video or audio taping of citizen interactions with law enforcement personnel?

    Comment by Not So Quick . . . Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 2:12 pm

  2. ===What is the purpose ===

    The age-old adage: Mess with the bull, get the horn.

    Comment by Rich Miller Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 2:21 pm

  3. We use police cameras in public areas today with the legal understanding that you have no right of expectation of privacy. However if you use a camera on the police in that same area you are violating the law? Seems crazy.

    I think the police come off better most times when captured on video. The vast majority do good work and if camera captures a bad image deal with it.

    Comment by jeff Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 2:24 pm

  4. I love the immigration map. The Milwaukee Avenue corridor is obvious to me, but what surprises me most are the clusters in Schaumberg and even Dupage County. There are even a smattering of newly sworn citizens in McHenry County who are immigrants.

    How long until the GOP rethinks its hardline stance on immigration? How red does this map have to be before common sense legislation prevails? McCain-Kennedy was a slam dunk. The DREAM Act is still a slam dunk. Too bad Senator Kirk couldn’t be bothered to support it. If he did, he might be Senator for life.

    Comment by 47th Ward Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 2:25 pm

  5. The Illinois Constitution makes it clear… we work for them, they don’t work for us. That’s why police can tape you but you can’t tape them.

    Comment by John Bambenek Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 2:46 pm

  6. The eavesdropping laws here lean far too much in favor of the police state…neither civil libertarians on the left nor small-government conservatives on the right should be in favor of such an assault on the citizenry.

    Comment by Liandro Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 2:50 pm

  7. The courts really need to overturn the eavesdropping law and if not legislation needs to be passed to change the law. Even if the law were to stay 15 years seems a bit excessive. The police should have nothing to fear if they are in the right and act within the law.

    Comment by Fed-Up Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:21 pm

  8. The eavesdropping laws in Illinois are very restrictive and out of date but they DO NOT favor the police. They were written to purposely make it very hard for anyone, especially the police, from taping another person without their consent.

    They were written way back in the day before everyone had a video recorder in their cell phone. Heck, they were written before cell phones were even heard of.

    Comment by Leave a light on George Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:23 pm

  9. The law prohibits recording conservations. It does not prohibit taking picture in public. 720 ILCS 5/14‑1 Other laws do prohibit taking pictures in private areas.

    Comment by Bigtwich Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:28 pm

  10. The recording issue is appalling. I recognize that this is part of a broader issue with privacy rights in the modern technological era, where recording is becoming ridiculously cheap and easy. But Mr. Bambenek put his finger on it: This is internally inconsistent and is an obviously abusive interpretation.

    Comment by jaranath Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:31 pm

  11. How are these folks facing 15 years on a Class 4 felony? Class 4 felonies carry a 1-3 year DOC sentence. Not to say that it isn’t an outrageous use of the statute but what am I missing?

    Comment by girlawyer Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:31 pm

  12. = = = The age-old adage: Mess with the bull, get the horn. = = =

    Ahh, that’s one I haven’t heard for a while . . . last accompanied by a hand gesture of twisting horns . . . probably on Taylor Street.

    In any case, this sort of twisted interpretation of eavesdropping law undermines public faith in law enforcement and should be put to an immediate end.

    Comment by Not So Quick . . . Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:32 pm

  13. Agree that that eavesdropping law is wrong and unconstitutional, but so is the “Patriot Act” that everybody thinks we need to catch terrorists. The USA is no longer the home of the “free and the brave”.

    On the death sentence issue, I agree with Mr. Lyons-if it is wrong now, it was wrong when those persons were sentenced; you can’t have it both ways.

    Comment by Downstate Commissioner Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:42 pm

  14. Illinois law on eavesdropping has been an unholy mess for many years and no one seems willing to address the issue. General rule nationally is that if one person in the conversation consents then recording can occur. Illinois is just bass ackward.

    Comment by D.P. Gumby Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 3:49 pm

  15. That eavesdropping law is one of the best applications for jury nullification.

    Comment by JN Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 4:04 pm

  16. does that mean if someone tape recorded something the Rodney king beating, in illinois they would be committing a felony? What about sound on video cameras.

    Comment by frustrated GOP Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 4:04 pm

  17. Looks like Devon is in no danger of losing its diversity in the near future. That’s a great map, Rich.

    Comment by Boone Logan Square Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 4:06 pm

  18. ==[if someone records] the Rodney king beating, in illinois they would be committing a felony?==

    No. Video recordings are legal in any public place. Only audio recordings are covered under the eavesdropping act.

    Comment by JN Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 4:09 pm

  19. So Reagan’s birthday prompts an Illinois GOP straw poll?

    I’d give every dime I ever earned between Dixon and Davenport to see Ronald Reagan stroll into a room of 2012 GOP presidential contenders.


    And I’d stick around to watch him peel the paint off the wall as he scorched Rush and Fox personalities like Newt, Sarah, Beck, Hannity anbd O’Reilly for invoking him every time they need to turn a buck with their nonsense.

    Reagan made a living a lot of ways, but he never would have taken a buck to be as ignorant, hateful and pessimistic as Rupert’s crew. As a matter of fact, Rupert never got anywhere near him while he as alive. Reagan was a smart guy.

    Sadly, the Illinois press nor the LA Times did much with Reagan’s birthday. He was a big hitter and deserved more from both.

    I hope the good folks of Dixon, Tampico, Davenport, IA, and Eureka College took some pride in their connection.

    The Washington Post, a local paper in the Maryland/Virginia area, did an excellent job givien his prominence as a CEO in the area back in the 80s.

    Here are a couple of links from them, but they did much more, which you can find if you search their site.

    You can also read Reagan’s memoirs, diaries, speeches and his history to find out what the man was all about. You’d be surprised, given the abuse he gets from the current right wing.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 4:42 pm

  20. Are comments making reference to the Illegal immigration problem in Illinois allowed on this post?

    Comment by Living in Oklahoma Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 4:50 pm

  21. –Are comments making reference to the Illegal immigration problem in Illinois allowed on this post?–

    Is there a surge of Okies coming? I thought Buck, Merle and Steinbeck had you folks all set up in Bakersfield.

    Direct all your concerns about illegal immigration to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. I’m sure they’ll get back to you the next time we have a bigger blizzard than last week.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 5:58 pm

  22. Illinois has one of the most restrictive interpretations of the wiretapping law in the nation. And is it blatantly being used to intimidate people who document police abuse or questionable behavior. As the cops like to say about *their* cameras: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. Well, in a free state that should work both ways. The governor should be in the forefront of amending this statute to keep our cops honest and to uphold whistle-blowers. It is everything Quinn says he stands for. Certainly, Cullerton, Lisa Madigan and her dad can help craft a re-write of the law that doesn’t hurt legit investigations yet doesn’t infringe on civil rights. Face it, the repubs lack the courage to fix this and it is up to democrats to apply that touted majority to fix this. With Daley on the out, and Emmanual not yet crowned, this might be the best time to do the deed. The original law was written, and interpreted, I’m sure, to impede sting operations like the old “Mirage” bar as well as things like Greylord. It was written to keep the powerful comfortable, not to promote justice. Let’s bring the wiretapping law and its interpretation into the 21st century. This should be the crusade of all state media.

    Comment by Newsclown Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 6:42 pm

  23. A law can be wrongheaded, but what are the prosecutors thinking by wasting the court’s time with this clearly unconstitutional stuff?

    Cameras are everywhere. Do I need to put a flashing blue light on my hat in order to film in public? I would be willing to bet the will be some money made by the plaintiff’s bar on these cases.

    Comment by Plutocrat03 Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 7:31 pm

  24. just asking. glad to see that many of our friends from south of the border are taking the initiative via the help of other to become naturalized citizens of the great state of Illinois. Welcome to the tax roles everybody.

    Comment by Living In Oklahoma Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 10:31 pm

  25. @leave a light on georgia:

    In the way they have been interpreted that last few years they do seem to favor the police. They can get warrants, citizens can’t. They can decide when laws are being broken; citizens have less power to do so. Maybe the original intent was did not so favor the police state…but current enforcement sure seems to.

    Comment by Liandro Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 10:34 pm

  26. I wouldn’t bet against that Mitt Romney, though. He hasn’t stopped running, just like Reagan between 76 and 80.

    He’s got some cred for taking on a Kennedy in Mass., losing, but coming back and taking the governorship. More cred, too, for shaping up the Olympics in Utah, plus the Big Dig.

    The dude looks like he should be on Mt. Rushmore, twice, and a $500 bill. If he can navigate the Tea Partiers and Rupert’s Fox Wack Jobs, he could be Big Heat.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Feb 7, 11 @ 10:43 pm

  27. I find that the government is becoming more and more oppressive with new media and court rulings with blogs. One video can ruin a crooked cop overnight, while internal investigations might drag it out for years.

    Comment by freighttrain Tuesday, Feb 8, 11 @ 1:42 am

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