The Seventh Circuit Appellate Court has ruled that the Illinois Eavesdropping statute, which makes it a Class One Felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison for videorecording a police officer, is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune states that:
A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled today that Illinois’ eavesdropping law “likely violates” the First Amendment and ordered that authorities be banned from enforcing it.
The ruling from the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago is the strongest blow yet to the law, which is one of the strictest in the country and makes it illegal for people to audio record police officers in public without their consent…
In August, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged for recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.
Judges in Cook and Crawford counties later declared the law unconstitutional, and the McLean County state’s attorney cited flaws in the law when he dropped charges in February against a man accused of recording an officer during a traffic stop.
Officials at the Cook County state’s attorney’s office were still reviewing the 66-page ruling and were not yet prepared to comment on it, spokeswoman Sally Daly said.
Meanwhile, state legislators are considering a bill that would allow people to record police officers working in public.
Update: Champaign attorney Mark C. Palmer, of Evans, Froehlich, Beth & Chamley sent me the link to the court’s opinion. It can be found here: American Civil Liberties Union v. Anita Alvarez, Case No. 11-1286.