Perhaps it’s too soon to be optimistic, but it appears as if the days of the absurd and unconstitutional wiretapping law in Illinois are numbered.
The law forbids citizens from recording cops in public without their consent, even though they can record you.
It makes it a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The only state in the country to have such an extreme law.
Massachusetts comes close, but it makes it a crime only if you secretly record cops without their consent. And even that law has been challenged as unconstitutional if the officer did not have an expectation of privacy.
Last week, an Illinois legislator introduced a bill that would reverse this law.
With the constitutionality of Illinois’ eavesdropping law already facing several court challenges, a Democratic state representative from Northbrook has filed a bill that would allow people to audio-record a police officer working in public without the officer’s consent.
“I believe that the existing statute is a significant intrusion into First Amendment rights, so with the prosecutions and the court cases that have been reported about, it just seemed that this is a problem in need of a swift solution,” Rep. Elaine Nekritz said in an interview Thursday.
Also last week, a woman who was acquitted for secretly recording cops filed a lawsuit.
The seven-page lawsuit recounts Moore’s allegation that Officer Jason Wilson responded to a domestic violence call at the apartment Moore shared with her then-boyfriend, and allegedly grabbed her breasts and buttocks as he interviewed her in her bedroom. Wilson then slipped her his number before leaving, suggesting they should “hook up.”
Last year, an Illinois judge tossed out a case of a man arrested on these charges, ruling that it was unconstitutional.
And any day now, a decision can be reached in ACLU vs Alvarez, which could determine that the law is unconstitutional.
Also last week, the United States Department of Justice sent a letter to a Maryland judge, urging him to see the constitutionality of the citizens’ right to record police in public, which could have an affect on ACLU vs Alvarez.
So even though nothing is certain, I have a very good feeling the law will not last through the end of this year.