* The decision by the principal and the local state’ attorney to charge this kid with a felony is simply egregious…
Paul Boron is 13 years old. He’s facing a felony eavesdropping charge that could change the course of the rest of his life.
Boron’s story stands as another chapter of controversy surrounding an eavesdropping law ripe for abuse, and state lawmakers should take action to fix it.
On Feb. 16, 2018, Boron was called to the principal’s office at Manteno Middle School after failing to attend a number of detentions. Before meeting Principal David Conrad and Assistant Principal Nathan Short, he began recording audio on his cellphone.
Boron said he argued with Conrad and Short for approximately 10 minutes in the reception area of the school secretary’s office, with the door open to the hallway. When Boron told Conrad and Short he was recording, Conrad told Boron he was committing a felony and promptly ended the conversation, Boron says.
Two months later, in April, Boron was charged with one count of eavesdropping – a class 4 felony in Illinois.
* They were in a public space, so there should’ve been no reasonable expectation of privacy…
Specifically, the new law made it a felony to surreptitiously record any “private conversation,” defined as “oral communication between [two] or more persons” where at least one person has a “reasonable expectation” of privacy.
But when does someone have a “reasonable” expectation of privacy? And is it fair to expect Illinoisans to know where to draw that line in their everyday lives? […]
Given the tenacity with which Illinois prosecutors have enforced the state’s eavesdropping law, reform from the Statehouse may be Boron’s best hope.