Sunday, November 27, 2011

Follow up on the No Video-recording Police in IL law

Still looking for the origins of this law; it appears to have been an older one, related to wiretapping.  That throws into question when and by which party or parties this legislation was passed, and even more so, did it ever intend to refer to this kind of use, since it appears to predate our modern technology.

Even more interesting in this context, since MN is a state which requires both parties to be aware of recording taking place, and it was my understanding this applied only to private conversations, 2 questions come to mind.  One, is it sufficient as is the case with customer service calls, simply to announce that one is recording, rather than actually ASKING permission? Second, does this apply to a public place or not? Because it was my understanding that wiretapping or other violations of privacy could only occur where there was an expectation of privacy, and did NOT apply to public places.

So there appear to be quite a lot of potential challenges to enforcing this kind of law when it applies to public places and police.

Here is just one of the articles I have been finding on this topic:

Video: Illinois Man Faces Life in Jail for Recording Police in Public

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41-year old Bridgeport, Illinois mechanic Michael Allison is facing possible life in jail for recording police officers via some archaic state eavesdropping charges (see video below). The state of Illinois is trying to charge Allison with five counts of wiretapping, each punishable by four to 15 years in prison for each count.

Allison says that he recorded officers while they confiscated a car on his mother’s property.  He also went to the police station with his recorder to speak to the chief of police about the seized property. Finally, when he was denied a court reporter in a court hearing, he recorded the proceedings himself and was arrested.

Allison syas that he refused a plea deal, which would have seen him serve no jail time, but would reinforce the statute that it is illegal to film police officers: “If we don’t fight for our freedoms here at home we’re all going to lose them.”

A judge is expected to rule on when the case will go to trial over the next two weeks.

This type of charge has been done before in different states, but charges have been dropped and the case thrown out of court.  In Illinois, eavesdropping charges against Tiawanda Moore for recording patrol officers were dropped, after a jury quickly repudiated the prosecution’s case, taking less than an hour to acquit Moore on both eavesdropping counts.

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