* Oh, no, our civil liberties will be fine while the government conducts its endless war on drugs…
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn sparked frustration among civil rights advocates by signing a new police wiretap law Tuesday.
Illinois police currently need a court order to secretly record conversations of drug criminals, but under the new law that goes into effect Jan. 1, a state’s attorney could give that go ahead.
Quinn said the change will allow faster arrests. […]
But Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy with the American Civil Liberties Union, wished Quinn and the legislature would have left things alone. Yohnka said judges act as a neutral third party and they can already act fast enough.
* From the synopsis…
Provides that it is an exception to an eavesdropping violation, with prior request to and verbal approval of the State’s Attorney of the county in which the conversation is anticipated to occur, recording or listening with the aid of an eavesdropping device to a conversation in which a law enforcement officer, or any person acting at the direction of a law enforcement officer, is a party to the conversation and has consented to the conversation being intercepted or recorded in the course of an investigation of a drug offense.
* From a Quinn press release…
This legislation will strengthen the justice system by allowing more credible evidence into criminal proceedings. Judges and juries will be able to hear the actual conversations of those suspected of committing drug crimes, rather than relying on witness testimony that can be unreliable. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will also have more evidence to consider while negotiating plea agreements, which reduce the burden upon the criminal justice system. This new process allows Illinois law enforcement the same flexibility in crime situations as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement in surrounding states.
And, yet, the police still oppose a bill that would allow citizens to record their public comments without facing a felony and years behind bars.