National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Another Victory for First Amendment and Recording the Police

From the Chicago Tribune:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a controversial Illinois law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

By passing on the issue, the justices left in place a federal appeals court ruling that found that the state’s anti-eavesdropping law violates free-speech rights when used against people who audiotape police officers….

Illinois’ eavesdropping law is one of the harshest in the country, making audio recording of a law enforcement officer — even while on duty and in public — a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Public debate over the law had been simmering since last year. In August 2011, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged with recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.

The government keeps losing in court on these matters, the main problem right now is a practical one (not so much a legal one)–when cops out on the street overstep their bounds and threaten people who have their smart phones out and are recording.   If bogus charges against a citizen-journalist are dropped, the cops likely face no adverse consequences–so it continues.

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