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Federal appeals court: Illinois cannot enforce ban on recording police officers

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posted on May, 8 2012 @ 08:03 PM
Federal appeals court: Illinois cannot enforce ban on recording police officers
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 16:29 EDT
The Raw Story

The 1st Amendment is still alive (even in Illinois) !!

The Illinois "eavesdropping law":

The eavesdropping law makes it a crime to record “any oral communication between 2 or more persons regardless of whether one or more of the parties intended their communication to be of a private nature under circumstances justifying that expectation.” The law exempts recordings made for law enforcement purposes and recordings made for “broadcast by radio, television, or otherwise.”

However, the law prohibited anyone who wasn’t a member of the media or law enforcement from recording police officers. Last year, an Illinois man faced a felony and up to 15 years in prison for recording a traffic stop using his cell phone The charges against him were later dropped.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago says the law violates the 1st Amendment !!

A federal appeals court on Tuesday barred the enforcement of a controversial law that allowed for the arrest and prosecution of individuals who made audio recordings of police officers without their consent.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the Illinois’ Eavesdropping Act “likely violates” the First Amendment, according to the Associated Press

“The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests; as applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech and free-press guarantees,” the court held PDF

“The Court of Appeals today reversed the trial court and ordered that the court enter a preliminary injunction enjoining States Attorney Anita Alvarez from prosecuting the ACLU and its employees for openly audio recording police officers performing their public duty,” ACLU legal director Harvey Grossman explained. “In order to make the rights of free expression and petition effective, individuals and organizations must be able to freely gather and record information about the conduct of government and their agents – especially the police.”

“Empowering individuals and organizations in this fashion will ensure additional transparency and oversight of police across the State,” he added.

posted on May, 8 2012 @ 08:21 PM
reply to post by xuenchen

+1 for common sense.

A rarity these days.

posted on May, 8 2012 @ 08:31 PM
Good find OP. S&F

This is a win for "us" and gives us just a little bit of the protection we deserve.

The police these days have become incredibly arrogant thinking that they are above the law when in fact, they are subservient to it. If and when things get violent, this gives justice a voice (or a picture) when it's time to answer to the judge and jury.

Score one for the Constitution.


posted on May, 8 2012 @ 08:40 PM
reply to post by xuenchen

There is hope after all.

I have seen, in my line of work, where a cop will question some one and when their friend or stranger goes to record them on their phone, the cop gets real up-set, almost like if there was a law against it or something.

My way of thinking, if you're not doing any thing wrong, a cop that is, why should it matter? Unless, as I have seen at times, some cops like harassing individuals and therefore, don't like to be recorded. But still, they act like they will throw the person recording in jail if they don't stop. Intimidation at it's best....

P.S. Not all cops are like this. But there are some who feel the power of the badge and act like it's a green light to harass people for no reason.

posted on May, 8 2012 @ 09:05 PM
There"s still some judges out there that up hold our constitutional rights. Their some glimmer of hope after all.

posted on May, 8 2012 @ 09:45 PM
Well it's about time a few of these higher court decisions started going back in the direction of Rights for the people out here. It's awfully nice of them and appreciated. I'm certainly getting tired of how so many states, of which Illinois tends to lead out from, which seem to consider the Constitution more negotiable than Congress.

If those who go to run for elected Office or to enforce the laws passed by the Legislative side...per Constitution and all...can;t follow it then they need to go apply at Burger King or work at a soup kitchen. Whatever.....but that 100% whole and unqualified support concept for the Constitution and every word it contains isn't just a quaint idea, It's intended to be bound by something very important by the Oath they all take.
edit on 8-5-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 8 2012 @ 09:50 PM
reply to post by xuenchen

Thank God for this, I have lived in Illinois for the last 15 years and this disgusting law as gnawed at my very being the entire time as I have seen fellow citizens and patriots struck down and charged with felonies in the name of keeping our law enforcement on the straight and narrow through our natural right to record public servants on public property.

This law was an slap in the face of every citizen of this great state and while I believe in separation of powers and states rights, I also think this is one example of what the federal government is actually there for, applying laws of our Constitution throughout the 50 states. After all, the Constitution should be upheld in every corner of America.

posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:03 PM
reply to post by xuenchen

January 2012
Michael Allison from Bridgeport, IL won an important freedom victory when a judge threw out charges against him (punishment of up to 75 yearsin prison for recording public officials doing their public work) and ruled Illinois eavesdropping law as unconstitutional.

This draconian law has been used against citizens recording police activity in public, and citizens recording public officials doing public duty.

Originally the law was intended to protect citizens private conversations from being recorded without their knowledge.

Those who love freedom support Michael Allison.
Thanks Mike for fighting for our freedom.


posted on May, 9 2012 @ 03:01 AM
Good news on ATS! Pinch me I'm dreaming. S&F
If an officer abuses power, the victim should be able to record evidence. If it weren't appealed and someone got abused by an officer, could you imagine how it would feel in court to be told your evidence wouldn't work because it was illegally obtained? If anything the vid would show the situation for what it is, no matter who was in the wrong rather it the officer or the suspect.
edit on 9-5-2012 by PutAQuarterIn because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 06:49 AM
The last line of the Quote said it all :

“Empowering individuals and organizations in this fashion will ensure additional transparency and oversight of police across the State,” he added.

This is what we needed, and as for common sense, well it is so rare that it should be classified as a superpower. I wonder if the judge has an "S" under that robe? Nevermind, not sure I want to know...

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 07:03 AM
Its about time. Now the cops in Illinois may start behaving like civilized human beings in fear of being caught on camera. Congrats to the residents of Illinois and happy taping.

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 07:08 AM
It doesnt matter.

It never was a crime and even in states where it has been explicitly spelled out to officers that it is not a crime cops still harass and detain.

CT is going so far as to make the harassing officers personally liable because the municipalities are getting tired of paying all the settlements from the subsequent lawsuits.

And cops will continue to go on making up whats "legal" on the fly and using all the wisdom of their personal feelings and beliefs to come to their conclusion.

We'd have a better chance training feral dogs.

Goes to show that the organized crime cartel that is law enforcement has grown beyond governments capacity to control it.
edit on 9-5-2012 by thisguyrighthere because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 08:24 AM
reply to post by thisguyrighthere

Maybe the people of Illinois could do themselves the favor,and change the Laws for themselves,and not wait for the Federal Government to step in.

Is that possible?

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 08:33 AM
reply to post by sonnny1

That's the point. There's nothing to change. Even at the federal level.

Yet puny cops and totalitarian administrators keep pushing this myth that its illegal and it keeps costing cities and towns millions in settlements.

It's almost become a "get rich quick" scheme to go record some cops, put up with some BS for a month or two then cash your settlement check.
edit on 9-5-2012 by thisguyrighthere because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 10:35 AM
Thanks for posting this!

Oh, my good state..

We get a bad rep, but I feel that after Blago and all of the BS we have had to put up with in the past, that we're finally turning and facing the right direction. That is, if everywhere else improves.

Communities around mine are all trying to be self-sufficient, after so long suckling on the teat of funds from power plants. We cannot strive to live harmoniously if there are those who instill fear and abuse power. Serve and protect, not incarcerate and kill. The police have cameras on their cars, right? And use them to punish someone they were harassing in the first place. Hypocrites.

I am happy my county cops are, in my opinion, very honorable..have our best interests. I have been let off easy many times because they don't want to waste the extra time/money. We have a lot of trash around here that do worse than speeding 80 in a 55, they have a lot bigger fish to fry.

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 11:55 AM
Great news, good to hear this despicable law tossed.

With current tech, police officers should have to record every arrest when reasonable possible. When multiple cops show up, one of them ought to be manning a camera, to provide evidence for actions taken.

More needs to be done in this country to combat police brutality. It would be better for everyone, including honest police officers.

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 01:06 PM
I've been face to face with tptb over this, in my 2-party state, and held my ground. This is because I knew I was right, regardless of the prevailing legalities at the time.

I'll post more later.

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 02:47 PM
Am I right in thinking that this ruling ONLY involves the citizens of Illinois? Everyone else will have to fight their own court cases.

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 02:52 PM
Yeah but Illinois was the last stand state where they kept "enforcing" the law. Curiously enough this law didn't apply to police themselves which in itself is a fallacy. Also the law quite clearly says that there has to be an expectation of privacy when the law applies which was always ignored. Now the cops will have to resort to "resisting without violence" etc. for supressing those who record them.

posted on May, 9 2012 @ 07:58 PM
Thank You, Thank you, Thank You for posting this. I'm a resident of Illinois
and I'm gonna start carrying my video camera again. Now if they'll take it off the books and inform Johnny Law.
edit on 9-5-2012 by DAVID64 because: spelling error

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