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Judge: Law Barring Recording Police Is Unconstitutional


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Illinois judge: law barring recording police is unconstitutional



By Megan Geuss


In Cook County today Judge Stanley J. Sacks declared Illinois' eavesdropping law—which is one of the toughest in the nation—unconstitutional in his ruling in the case of Christopher Drew, who was charged with the felony crime in 2009.


The eavesdropping law prohibits citizens from making audio or visual recordings of others without every recorded person's explicit consent. Sixty-year-old artist Drew audio-recorded his interaction with a police officer who was arresting him for selling art patches at the side of the road. A police officer found the tape recorder and Drew found himself with a Class 1 felony charge, which carries up to 15 years in prison. “That's one step below attempted murder,” Drew said in a January interview with the New York Times.


A citizen's right to record police has certainly been a contentious topic of debate recently. The First Circuit US Court of Appeals has considered whether making recordings of police with the recording device in plain sight is considered a secret recording or not, and a Miami photojournalist was arrested and had his videos of police activity deleted while he was detained.


In this particular case, however, Judge Sacks seemed to declare Illinois' law unconstitutional not because it's a citizen's right to record interactions between the police and the public, but because the law was too far-reaching.


"The Illinois Eavesdropping Statute potentially punishes as a felony a wide array of wholly innocent conduct," noted Judge Sacks in his opinion, according to the Sun-Times. "A parent making an audio recording of their child’s soccer game, but in doing so happens to record nearby conversations, would be in violation of the Eavesdropping Statute.”

Edited by David1946
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Whats the difference between someone recording their arrest and the Dash video camera's in the police vehicles?


Only difference I can think of is, who has control over the resulting video - if we have the video, we can put it on YouTube or whatever. If the video is recorded by the police, they have control over whether it's released or not. My 2cents.

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I've posted in other threads...and I'll continue here, lol....


I think that all police encounters with citizens should be recorded. The technology is there to at least audio record. The recordings should be copied and stored safely away from police before being made available to police.


This would keep police more honest, protect citizens, make it easier to prove misconduct of the citizen or police for court cases, and most importantly, would discourage the 'rogue officer type' from ever wanting to become a police officer.


Why is it that we don't push for recording of every encounter??

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If one is in/on public property (we all essentially live on public property anyways. ever not pay your property tax? how long you own it if you dont pay it).

anything said/done is public display.


Cops like to Intimidate folks with cameras because they are all to aware of how THEIR FREEDOM to violate your constitutional rights is impaired by Video Cameras. Just ask the Cops in the Rodney King case from the 90s.

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