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Artist Could Face 15 Years In Prison For Recording His Own Arrest

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What Constitution...




Chris Drew was finally ready to get arrested. An artist and activist, Drew had spent years protesting a Chicago ordinance that puts tight restrictions on where and how people can sell their art on the street. He was downtown, on State Street, selling silk-screened patches for $1 and defying the city to stop him.


He'd tried his act of civil disobedience three times before -- a First Amendment lawyer on hand to argue his case, a team of videographers ready to film the arrest -- but the police simply let it slide. When, on December 2, 2009, he finally succeeded in getting booked, Drew was ready for a few hours in lock-up on a misdemeanor, and a lengthy court battle. He was in no way prepared for what he would actually face.


The state charged Drew with a Class 1 felony, not for selling art on the street, but for violating the Illinois Eavesdropping Act by recording his own arrest. He faces up to 15 years in prison.


"Illinois has the worst eavesdropping law in the country," Drew said in a phone interview. If not the single most punitive, it's certainly in the top three.


The state is one of twelve that has so-called "two-party consent" eavesdropping laws. This means that audio recording any conversation is illegal unless all parties to the conversation consent.


All but three of those states make an important exception to that law: the recording of police conversations in the public way. Only Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois deem such recordings illegal, and the Maryland attorney general recently issued an opinion suggesting that taping the cops shouldn't be prosecuted.


But Illinois is staying the course, currently prosecuting nine individuals -- including Drew -- for making just such recordings.

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what's the real point here? he was selling product for a buisness in a area he couldn't and he is basicaly trying to make stink, why go through this a 3rd time and waste the tax dollars in fighting the case, arresting him and keeping him detained... both parties are feeding into it but him more than anyone because he keeps choosing to break the same law, no matter how silly that law maybe. The reason he got hit with something so stupid is because he woldn't quit and they had to make something stick, or atleast thats how it seems

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Well the cops have a free pass to kick the snot out of anyone they want. Rodney King taught them that if they want to get away with anything they have to stop people from taping it. G D cops for ya! Their are good police out there just getting harder and harder to find. Why should the general public fear the very people that are supposed to protect them. With snatch and grabs of mm patient and passing out tickets like candy. Police seem to do one thing and one thing only for a bunch of years now. Take money from people to propagate themselves. Kind of like the DEA they make themselves look like they are needed and request more and more money or out right steal it just so they can justify their existence.

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