Illinois: Where Recording On-Duty Cops Is Treated Like Sexual Assault

Last week, an Illinois judge rejected Chicago artist Christopher Drew's motion to dismiss the Class I felony charge against him. Drew is charged with violating the state's eavesdropping statute when he recorded his encounter with a police officer last December on the streets of Chicago. A Class I felony in Illinois is punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison. It's in the same class of crimes as sexual assault. Drew will be back in court in June to request a jury trial.

I'm currently working on a feature for Reason about man in a more rural part of the state charged with six violations of the same statute, all of them for making audio recordings of on-duty public officials. For several of the counts in that case, the police were actually on the man's property. He started recording his conversations with police because he felt he was being unjustly harassed for violating a town ordinance he thought was unconstitutional.

I'm of the opinion that it should always be legal to record on-duty police officers, both as a matter of policy and under the free speech, free press, and right to petition the government provisions in the First Amendment. We saw the power and potential of audio and video recording technology to expose government abuse in the Iranian protests last summer. But we also see it here in the U.S. with the thousands of  police misconduct videos uploaded to YouTube in recent years.

Typically, police who want to arrest someone for recording them while on duty use a strained interpretation of state wiretapping laws or whatever state or local law addresses obstructing or  interfering with law enforcement. These incidents are troubling enough, and I think state legislatures should consider passing laws explicitly making it legal to record on-duty law enforcement officials. Those laws should include remedies for people wrongly arrested, or who have had their cameras or cell phones illegally confiscated, damaged, or destroyed.

But in Illinois the situation is quite a bit worse. In Illinois it actually is illegal to make audio recordings of on-duty cops--or any other public official. Illinois is one of a handful of states that require all parties to consent before someone can record a conversation. But the other all-party-consent states also include a provision in their statutes stating that for there to be a violation of the law the nonconsenting party must have a reasonable expectation of privacy. On-duty police officers in public spaces have no such expectation.

Here's where it gets even worse: Originally, the Illinois eavesdropping law did also include a similar expectation of privacy provision. But the legislature stripped that provision out in 1994, and they did so in response to an incident in which a citizen recorded his interaction with two on-duty police officers. In other words, the Illinois legislature specifically intended to make it a Class I felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, to make an audio recording of an on-duty police officer without his permission.

Given the spate of recent stories about cops in Chicago caught on video misbehaving (some of whom were subsequently held accountable only because of the video), the legislature's already-awful-when-it-passed 1994 amendment hasn't aged well.

I suspect most state officials know this law is unconstitutional. While several people have been charged under the statute for recording public officials, I've so far been unable to find anyone who was actually convicted, much less had a conviction upheld. (If you know of someone who has, please email me!) Prosecutors tend to either drop the charges or offer a plea bargain before the case gets to trial. It isn't difficult to see why someone would take a misdemeanor plea and a clean record instead of challenging a bad law and risking up to 15 years in prison and a felony record if they lose.

Before Drew the closest anyone came to challenging the law came in 2004, when documentary filmmaker Patrick Thompson was arrested for recording police interactions with patrons outside of bars and restaurants in Champaign-Urbana. He was looking to document allegations that police were treating white patrons differently than black patrons. (See the ACLU's brief on Thompson's behalf here). But Thompson took a plea bargain before his case went to trial.

So the law remains on the books. Which Illinois police officers remain authorized by state law to detain, arrest, and jail people who record them while on-duty, and they can continue to confiscate the recordings.

(Cross-posted at Instapundit.)

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Eugene Volokh emails to say that Massachusetts also doesn't appear to recognize an expectation of privacy exception to its all-party-consent law, and has upheld a conviction for recording on-duty police officers.

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  • Parker||

    I really need to get a video pen - preferably one that broadcasts.

    I aim to misbehave.

  • ||

    What Mal said.

    What we need is a Constitutional amendment that states that if, as a legislator, congressman, city councilman, President, etc., you vote in favor of, or sign into law, a law that is later deemed to be unconstitutional, you're immediately kicked out of office and ineligible from ever holding public office again.

  • creech||

    Given the number of 5-4 decisions, with the balance to be tipped by whatever goon (president) is in office when a SCOTUS vacancy occurs, this proposal would gore all our oxes eventually. Maybe for 8-1 or 7-2 decisions?

  • ||

    If it ends up taking out every politician, I'd consider that a feature, not a bug.

  • cynical||

    As a separate vote, I think, from the constitutionality (and requiring 6-3).

    When the constitution says "Congress shall not", it means they shall not. Any other aspect of the law, if it says "shall not" and you do it anyway, it doesn't just mean someone else cleans up your mistake and wags a finger, it means you get punished.

  • ||

    Not at all. It just means the legislators would be very, very careful about proposing new laws. They'd make sure that their constitutionality would be upheld by 9-0 votes.

    Is that a bad thing? Not by me. I prefer my legislators scared of the Constitution, and carefully staying miles away from its boundaries, let alone its putative penumbrae, emanations, and whatnot.

  • ||

    Kicked out of office my ass. That amendment should specify that you're executed for treason.

    Nothing would focus a legislator's mind on his proper humble role like the threat of being hanged by angry citizens if he forgets for whom he works.

  • The Gobbler||

    Sirhan Sirhan was a visionary.

  • ||

    Post first, then toke.

  • cynical||

    Great idea, let's give the unelected, biased lifetime lawyer-priests the ability to, with any flimsy rationale they choose, and without any sort of opposition or recourse, completely eradicate the opposition party.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    That's a goddamn great idea.

  • Travis||

    If someone tries to invade your privacy, you invade theirs right back.

  • ||

    "and I think state legislatures should consider passing laws explicitly making it legal to record on-duty law enforcement officials."

    Considering that these same legislatures pass the law making it a crime to record public officials, I very much doubt any such laws will be even proposed.

    And of course, courts have long stopped being any counter balance to police or prosecutors. Indeed, as they are rubber stamps for no knock and swat raids, courts are rapidly becoming part of the problem.

  • ||

    Good thing there's still the initiative process, then. There's no reason, particularly in your state, that the citizens themselves can't pass such laws directly.

    And if that doesn't work, because of arrogant courts -- why, let's just amend the Constitution.

  • Steff||

    WTF. Absolutely, they should be allowed to be recorded. Hell, most law abiding officers WANT that fucking camera on them, because it protects THEM from wrongful allegations. My husband went and bought his own cruiser cam in the village he worked for, when THEY wouldn't, just so he could have that extra layer of insurance when it came to doing his job, and making it clear he was doing it rightly and properly.

    Illinois is so damn corrupt.

  • ||

    Hell, most law abiding officers WANT that fucking camera on them,

    Shouldn't be hard to confirm. You can probably call them all on your lunch hour.

  • ||

    *high five*

  • ||

    I won't speak about all police officers, but I do know several, and most do view the camera as a way to protect themselves and gather evidence.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I think it might be the quickest way to determine what kind of cop you're dealing with. Ask them if they have a problem with their entire shifts being recorded, with the video not accessible to them.

  • Old Mexican||

    In Illinois it actually is illegal to make audio recordings of on-duty cops--or any other public official.

    Well, MNG used the argument of public service to justify "certain regulations" imposed upon the people that rely on them (to justify anti-discrimination laws), so people like MNG should not find the above objectionable - if they are really sincere about their position.

  • ||

    So, the state that our President, touted as the Great Liberaltarian Hope, the One who would protect our civil liberties from the depredations of the Terror Police, actually went out of its way to make it a felony(!) to record a police officer in a public place.

    I see this happened the year before he showed up in the Senate (although doubtless he would have voted Present had he been there), so he's not on the record on this one, but still, it shows where's he from.

  • highnumber||

    Brilliant! You tied this to Obama. You make as much sense as Max.

  • ||

    Obama may be blameless in this matter, highnumber, but Chicago is not. Sinner!

  • VikingMoose||

    dontcha know - of course you can tie it to BHO. Just like everybody has an image of chicago in their minds :)

  • ||

    As you know, I lived there. It's like The Blues Brothers, all the time.

  • VikingMoose||

    ah yes. the "highnumber" school of driving! (he got his license at the URKOBOLD driving school)

  • ||

    Driving instruction in a mall? Awesome!

  • ||

    You mean, when you play good music, scores of people appear from nowhere to dance in the street?

  • ||

    I mean just that. When I was in law school in south Chicago, I'd walk into a diner, and Aretha Franklin would serve me half a chicken and a live performance of either "Think" or "Son of a Preacher Man."

  • ||

    Obama worked feverishly to change this law? Or, if only Obama knew...

  • Russ 2000||

    Obama actually did work on making every police interrogation in the state require video recording. It would be interesting to see what BHO's opinion is on this. Especially now that his position is much higher.

  • Max||

    How about recording off-duty BP excutives? Oh, sorry, they're non-state malefactors, so they don't exist in your narrow little cultish world, do they, Balko, you blinkered fuck?

  • ||

    Why won't you DIE?!? Seriously, what the fuck do BP execs have to do with the fucking police. One is a private sector executive the other is an organ of state FUCKING power. And if I recorded said execs in a public place, I would not be looking at 15(!?!?) fucking years in jail you blithering fuck-tard.

  • Max||

    Go suck Ron Paul's cock, you market fundamentalist cock sucker.

  • ||

    As soon as you are done gobbling Obama's load you statist cum slurping shit scuker.

  • ||

    Sucker. sorry

  • ||

    Max, you're the one who apparently would approve of the Holocaust, since it was done by government, which can do no wrong in your eyes.

    As long it's not one of those private actors, there can be no wrong, you fascist government fundamentalist.

  • Adam||

    Congratulation's on being the first in this thread to prove Godwin's Law!

  • JBC||

    Just because you read about something on Wiki doesn't mean you have to bring it up every single time it is moderately applicable.

  • ||

    Why is anyone responding to this idiot? STOP FEEDING THE TROLL!! YOU ARE DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS!!

  • Max||

    You fucking moron, all the resposnes to me make the site look like it has heavy traffic instead of being an echo chamber for twenty dimwits cultists like you. Make a donation, idiot.

  • ||

    U MAD

  • caption contest||

    Max, I disagree with you on most everything that you have written here, but your comment struck me as damn funny!

  • ||

    Since it was referenced earlier, I'm now convinced that Max is actually Radley from Bizarro World. So I'll put this into language he'd understand.

    Max, you're my favorite person. Your posts are the most eloquent ones I've ever seen on this site. You're the best around. Nothing's gonna ever keep you down.

  • ||

    they're non-state malefactors, so they don't exist in your narrow little cultish world, do they, Balko, you blinkered fuck?

    Just trying to blockquote here. 'Cause it looks nifty.

    Max, you are sooo pretty!

  • ||

    Sweet, it worked. Now if I can only figure out why super/subscript doesn't work here.

    Max, I am so glad you are here, you keep this place from being an echo chamber with your principled and honest opposition.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    Who says this x¹² doesn't work? Just because you don't know how to make it work...

  • ||

    I'm guessing you pasted that from somewhere else, 'cause I looked at the source page and there are no html tags.

  • ||

    He didn't use HTML tags, he used Unicode characters.

  • ||

    X⁰

    Okay, thank you.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    Bingo. Unicode is your friend, although if you put too many of those in, you get an error message that it appears that your comment is a language other than English and that you need to make sure your message is in English.

  • Old Mexican||

    Letists pricks are surely fond of non sequiturs, I have noticed . . .

  • Max||

    What the fuck is a letist?

  • Old Mexican||

    A guy that lets the left get away with everything.

  • Chuckster||

    Ha! Awesome!

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Happy to see you again, Max.

  • ||

    Non sequitur much, oh troll Max.

    We must assume that you're absolutely in favor of treating those who record police officers like sex criminals. After all, that's actually the point of this article, and yet you chose to ignore it because it doesn't fit your narrow-minded view of the world, Max. Radley has a defense for not bringing up something different in one article (or else I must conclude that Max is in favor of slavery.)

    Why do you hate civil liberties Max? What do state malefactors not exist in your narrow little cultish world, Max?

  • ||

    May you be so fortunate to die of a ravaging disease that they name after you, Max.

  • ||

    But sure, go ahead and record them. Are you really sure that you'll find that BP executives really really wanted to spill all that precious oil?

    I can be persuaded either way on whether taping of private parties should be allowed without mutual consent. I'm pretty sure that I want the right to record someone who has the power to kill me or send me to prison based on his word, which the court will trust over mine without evidence.

  • ||

    Oh, if only Max would make a gay sex joke at the expense of Muslims... but, alas he is only calling the only useful journalist on a national level in the country a "blinkered fuck" for not addressing a problem on a thread that's not about that problem.

    This is why I am so disappointed.

  • ||

    Max, you're a dickhead. Thought you should know.

  • ||

    How does this law apply to security cameras? If a cop walks into a 7-11 and violates somebody's rights in there, is the owner of the 7-11 suddenly guilty of a felony because the act will be caught on the store's security camera?

  • ||

    I think it only applies to Audio recording. I think you can still video the villains, just without sound. I may be wrong though.

  • Abdul||

    Seriously, it's in the intent. Under the illinois law, if your intent is to record a police officer, then you have the mens rea for the crime. A publicly visible stationary camera that's always on (like in a 7-11) is not operated with the intent to record a police officer.

  • ||

    So the same would apply to a security camera installed in my home?

    What if I clipped one of those little Flip HD cameras to the front of my shirt and had it on all the time?

  • ||

    Not so sure. The video camera intends to record everyone, including cops. It is foreseeable that there will be cops. I think it violates the letter of the law.

  • ||

    In the case of the Illinois law it's not just police officers who can't be recorded, it's anyone who does not consent. Clearly a security camera is intended to record someone without their intent.

    Of course if it's not audio, there's no problem.

  • ||

    is intended to record someone without their intent.

    RCs Law?

    "Excuse me sir, we're doing a documentary and we require your intent before we can interview you. Do you intend to A) be a good person B) have a nice day C) Eat a sandwich for lunch.....etc etc etc"

  • ||

    That's offensive. Stop it.

  • ||

    OK so what about the COP with the dash cam in his car? Its OK for HIM to record YOU, but not OK for YOU to record HIM? Makes no sense to me dude.

    Lou
    www.web-anonymity.cz.tc

  • ||

    Of course is makes no sense to you. You are a lowly mundane, not one of the exalted ONLY ONES. Everything they do is for your protection, except when they're beating the shit out of you, or killing you that is.

  • ||

    Of course it is always a double standard--one for police, another for the proletariat. Probably the cops' most frequently voiced objection to being recorded is that bits and pieces can be selectively released to create a misrepresentation of what actually happened (eg Michael Moore style). Of course we know how often that happens with statements made by criminal defendants.

  • ||

    Guys, this is a bot. It cares not for your responses. It knows nothing of fear, love, hunger, or any of the traits that make us uniquely human. It only has one concern: That you CLICK ON THE LINK HUMAN.

  • ||

    OTOH, the bot is more intelligent and more capable of reason and logic than Max.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The bot is far more worthwhile than Max.

  • ||

    I can find a lump of spongy goat shit in a dead hooker's twat that is more worthwhile than Max.

  • The Gobbler||

    You need to move into a better neighborhood.

  • ||

    Random dead hookers are what sold me on the place.

  • ||

    And its still cleaner than Max's neighborhood.

  • PeeDub||

    You can find a lump of spongy goat shit in a dead hooker's twat??

  • ||

    It makes more sense than Max. I bet it has better links too.

  • ||

    Almost as if somebody already said what I was saying....doh! Obvious thoughts are obvious

  • ||

    It's not your fault. Anonbot/Skynet is slowly training us all to think in synch.

  • CJ||

    Guys, this is a bot.

    Yeah, but it's an entertaining one. Correct about 75% of the time, off-topic 20% of the time, and only on occasion is it far off the mark and openly wrong.

  • ||

    A Class I felony in Illinois is punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison. It's in the same class of crimes as sexual assault.

    I'll go out on a limb and say that if anything is a violation of the 8th's cruel and unusual benchmark, this is.

  • Hacha Cha||

    I carry my mp3 player that has the ability to easily and covertly record audio. How is it illegal to record what goes in public, especially when the person being recorded is a government agent.

  • ||

    Because there are two distinct classes of citizens. Faultless government overlords, immune from lawsuits and unaccountable to the other class, peons. The peons merely pay their salaries and are not deemed worthy of the consideration extended to their betters in government. Soon we will have to step off the sidewalk to make way for any government official lest we impede their important work.

    In case you are wondering, police dogs are in the government overlord class.

  • ||

    In case you are wondering, police dogs are in the government overlord class.

    Important info for anyone who'd ever thought of including a Pig-Dog in one of their "I can haz?"/loldog photos.

  • ||

    That describes Illinois pretty well. Especially the politicians in the Chicagoland area.

  • ||

    What a fucking corrupt cesspool of a state. Georgia is bad enough but this takes the cake.

  • Admiral Akbar||

    Wait... let me get this straight. Illinois, the most corrupt state in the union, has laws against recording public officials?

    I, for one, am shocked! Next thing you'll tell me that lawmakers don't vote term limits onto themselves because they want to have jobs for life.

  • DoDoGuRu||

    Dude, you don't seem to be aware of how Instapundit works...

    It's like a scrolling list of snarky headlines. Pinching a 10 paragraph loaf into that context is jarring. Not to mention, people who are used to browsing Instapundit will very likely just go TL:DR.

  • Max||

    Hey Kuffar,

    Instead of sitting around on the internet all day, posting pointless free-marker supporting messages,and abusing yourselves to pictures of loose women (such as Kerry Howley), why not do something productive and surrender your lives to Allah?

    Western society has become decadent, weak, and lazy, and is soon to collapse. The upcoming generation, people such as yourselves, want nothing more from life than to grow fat sitting around on computers all day, masturbating, drinking, and taking drugs. You are encouraged in this behavior by corrupt politicians and absent new age parents while your societies and free-market economies collapse around you. Meanwhile the Muslim Ummah, or brotherhood, grows rich on oil wealth and trains its upcoming generation to serve Allah, and to fight, willing to give their lives if necessary for the cause. The 19 hijackers of 9/11 have surely earned their place in paradise as do the suicide bombers who strike daily into the heart of the devil state of Israel. We are living among you, in Europe and America, and we are outbreeding you day by day, slowly taking over.

    Allah has a plan for each of us. He means us all to be good Muslims and live by his rules, as set out to the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). Your sinful lives and wicked ways go against His plans, and you will be tortured for eternity in hell for your iniquities. Repent now and revert back to the one true faith.

    Where your joke of a faith, which no one in your society believes in anyway, tells you to love, be tolerant, and turn the other cheek, the Quran teaches us to "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them, capture and besiege them and prepare for them every kind of ambush."

    It also says "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies".

    How can you hope to win your futile so called 'war on terror' against us? You have become weak, and no longer willing or able to fight. You even elected a pacifist president with Muslim sympathies to try and placate us. It's only a matter of time until we win. Even now your soldiers contine to die on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and for what? The moment you leave, it will be back to traditional Sharia law. Your technological advances count for nothing if all you do with them is watch porn and play video games. We will continue our jihad on the west, to maim and kill those who oppose or insult us. See the truth for what it is and revert to Islam immediately. It is your only hope of survival.

  • DoDoGuRu||

    Yeah, see. Max understands about length context.

    Sprawling manifestos like this are TLDR, as his brilliant satire demonstrates.

  • OO======D||

    Oh how I live for you kisses!

  • Max's Gay Life-Partner||

    How can you not love this guy?

  • Hacha Cha||

    want nothing more from life than to grow fat sitting around on computers all day, masturbating, drinking, and taking drugs.
    are you spying on me?
    the top .1% of muslims are growing rich on oil, the rest aren't.
    and hey I take offense when you say, "Where your joke of a faith," I don't have faith, faith is shit. I'd like to throw a piece of bacon at your face and rip the burkas off the unwilling beautiful wearers. we don't support the war on terror. oh and here is a picture for you honey http://allyourspeecharebelongtous.tk

  • Hacha Cha||

    damn, I thought it was a real muslim, well you fooled me damn it. couldn't tell the satire from reality.

  • ||

    revert to Islam immediately

    Telling.

  • Obummer||

    Do cop cars in Illinois have cameras mounted on them? Do the people who are recorded of them consent? If not, then did the cop just commit a class I felony?

  • ||

    "Of course not, citizen, we're here to protect and serve.

    NOW DOWN ON THE GROUND MOTHERFUCKER!"

  • ||

    He was looking to document allegations that police were treating white patrons differently than black patrons.

    PREPOSTEROUS!

  • ||

    Are they going to fucking post the Mohammed submission or not?

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Tell me about it. The suspense is killing me.

  • Hacha Cha||

    maybe they'll pull a comedy central

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Maybe Moynihan and Gillespie are meeting on Welch's front lawn first.

  • ||

    You can't video record cops in North Korea either.

  • Ska||

    Does this fall under some kind of Godwin corollary?

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    He Jong-Il'ed the thread, dude.

  • ||

    "Its been Pyongyang'd"?

  • ||

    While the comment is, on reflection, rather shameless hyperbole, I think it falls short of godwinizing the thread. There's no facial hair involved.

  • nicole||

    This just makes me that much more psyched about the cameras recording everything on half the street corners in Chicago.

    And yes, I realize the audio makes the difference. But fuck that.

  • The Prophet Mohammed||

    Are they going to fucking post the Mohammed submission or not?

    The only submission is to Allah! I will not be tied to your fucking-post and fucked in the fucking oh yeah shit—

    fapfapfap

  • ||

    I'm of the opinion that it should always be legal to record on-duty police officers, both as a matter of policy and under the free speech, free press, and right to petition the government provisions in the First Amendment.

    I oppose laws against recording cops, but I don't see how that constitutional argument could possibly be made. What does recording someone without their consent have to do with free speech, for instance?

  • Invisible Finger||

    You should be free to replay a government official's speech.

  • RM||

    I don't think that should be the argument so much as that the medium of recording shouldn't matter (are you allowed to write it down? Why not digitally record it?)

  • ||

    The FA is generally considered to protect not just the individual's right to speak, but also another individual's right to hear. I mean, what good is a right to speak freely if the government can restrict the ability of other citizens to hear you?

    This is why the First Amendment protects the right of citizens not just to write but to read and distribute most writing, up to and including in some cases pornographic or seditious material.

    The application here is that if Citizen A is prohibited from recording the actions of public officials in a public place, then Citizens B through Z are being prohibited from reading (or seeing or hearing) factual information about what public officials are doing in their elected capacity.

    That seems to me like a crystal-clear First Amendment violation. It is the government attempting to hide public information from any part of the public that happens not have been in earshot or visual range. Not allowed.

  • cynical||

    Isn't recording analogous to writing? And isn't writing (on your own property, natch) considered to fall under the umbrella of "speech"?

  • ||

    That's offensive, Tulpa. Stop it.

  • ||

    This just makes me that much more psyched about the cameras recording everything on half the street corners in Chicago.

    Why?

    Any incriminating footage captured on municipal cameras is more likely than not to be "lost".

  • Hacha Cha||

    unless they allow the public to access the camera feeds online.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    I don't think Commissioner Copps will allow that.

  • Hacha Cha||

    Yeah I am doubt he will.
    My city is trying to install cameras but they say they will allow public access to them online. If they back out of that promise I think there will be a wave of high powered laser pointers aimed at the lenses of those cameras and they will have a lot of worthless equipment up there.

  • ||

    Pilots, then public cameras....they'll get the target of their laser shenanigans right eventually.

    Really though, Hacha, you wanna pay to keep replacing those blown cameras?

  • Hacha Cha||

    My city is wasting over 10,000 dollars to restore a damn fountain, they are broke, they won't have the money to replace the cameras.

  • nicole||

    Sorry, sarcasm fail. I am sick of being videotaped and think I have a much more reasonable expectation of privacy on public streets (i.e., not having my every movement effectively monitored on video) than the cops do (acting as agents of the state).

  • ||

    But Tulpa, if you're not doing anything wrong, you have no reason to worry.

  • ||

    where the hell is the ACLU, too busy counting to 10 - 1?

  • ||

    Does anyone know if this law would apply to realtime automated audio transcription? It is becoming more common.

  • Federal Dog||

    "Typically, police who want to arrest someone for recording them while on duty use a strained interpretation of state wiretapping laws or whatever state or local law addresses obstructing or interfering with law enforcement."

    Actually, I am seeing a different strategy for getting around things: Involve federal agents, then claim that because the investigation is federal, state statutory and constitutional protections do not apply.

  • ||

    Where's Muhammad?

  • Jeremy Lindsey||

    I have dealt first hand with being intimidated and told I'm being investigated for breaking the law for recording the actions of the police in illinois, perticularly the video of a police officer driving not so desirable and nearly hitting me. Forget about the cop who was driving illegaly and look into prosecuting me for catching the bad driving on tape.

  • ||

    Interesting. Can Illinois make it illegal to gather evidence for a potential federal civil rights action? I don't think so.

    For that matter, can Illinois make it illegal for any criminal defendant to gather evidence for their defense? I doubt it.

    Yes, the Constitutional problems for this law just multiply the more you think about it.

    How about this? If you are going to record the police, flash a card saying
    "This conversation will be recorded." By continuing the encounter without explicitly stating their non-consent, the cops are implicitly consenting.

  • ||

    I'm being investigated for breaking the law for recording the actions of the police in illinois, perticularly the video of a police officer driving not so desirable and nearly hitting me.

    Unless you managed to record him muttering drunkenly about being about to miss that fresh batch of chocolate cake donuts at Dunkin' Donuts, I don't think the law was violated, as I think it applies only to voice recordings, not video-only recordings.

  • Where R U Tonite||

    when justice is outlawed, only outlaws will have justice.

  • Max||

    Here's what that great libertarian thinker Rothbard had to say:

    "Cops must be unleashed," Rothbard wrote, "and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error." While they're at it, they should "clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares?"

  • wat||

    Who cares what Rothbard said? This article is not about Rothbard, or Austrian Economics. Its about police officers, like you.

  • Max||

    Here's what that great libertarian thinker Rothbard had to say:

    "Cops must be unleashed," Rothbard wrote, "and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error." While they're at it, they should "clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares?"

  • ||

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the police ARE THE GOVERNMENT. The government has no right to privacy unless the matter is of National Security. All else is UN-AMERICAN. Orwell is smiling.

  • ||

    Wow, pretty absurd isnt it? But of course its OK for them to tape you on their dash cams.

    Lou
    www.total-anonymity.tk

  • Assistant Village Idiot||

    "Is Treated Like Sexual Assault" and "It's in the same class of crimes as sexual assault" are not the same thing. Also, there are other crimes in that category as well - you clearly chose the sexual one to add in some non-rational juice. They have some similarity, but creating that as an equivalence is trying to use emotional, hyperventilating arguments instead of precise ones.

  • ||

    Do the police in Illinois have recorders in their patrol cars to record what they do when they pull someone over? If so, do they, every time, tell a suspect that he is being recorded?

  • ||

    More importantly, do they aquire consent "BEFORE" they record... have to say that's a physical imposibility and hence illegal. What a crazy law!

  • ||

    They have to have consent BEFORE they record anybody. And does the FBI do their "warrant-less" wire-taps in that state?

  • ||

    "Illinois is one of a handful of states that require all parties to consent before someone can record a conversation."

    So... if you are caught in the background of a live newssegment in Ill., you are broadcast without your consent and the camerman/etc. are subject to the same legal action?

  • jonathan||

    The Citizen Media Law Project has state-by-state information on wiretapping laws. Most states they list have one-party consent laws, meaning it's legal to record a conversation you're a part of.

    California, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington require the consent of all parties. Michigan may be too, but it's disputed.

    http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/state-law-recording

  • ||

    Maryland, where Linda Trip was prosecuted for recording Monica Lewinski, is one state where all parties must consent.
    Having noted that, I think it's worth remembering that under our former Governor Robert Ehrlich, the State Police surveilled citizens exercising their constitutional rights of assembly (participating in environmental groups, anti-death-penalty groups, anti-war groups, etc.) Many of these law-abiding citizens were placed on terrorist watch lists. No friend of the Constitution, he, nor the rights of citizens. Unfortunately he's going to run again. For America's sake, I hope he doesn't win.

  • Justin||

    Well said.

    Accountability is the first step towards transparency.

  • ||

    If I travel to Illinois and purposely record public officials or an interaction with a cop, then go somewhere like Idaho where such recording is legal before revealing that I had done so, would IL be able to extradite me to from ID?

  • ||

    Actually, I had a friend who was stalked, beaten and raped by a repeat offender. The guy only got one year, and not classified as a sex offender. Daley wants low crime statistics. The Chicago police department systematically undercharges real felonies to achieve this. (Btw-- guy only got one year because victim hired an outside lawyer. She had a rape kit, immediate witness after the fact, immediate call to police, and everything-- she did everything according to the book and this guy still almost got charged with a simple Misdemeanor just like his prior rape)

  • cynical||

    Are they taking lessons from the NYPD or vice versa?

  • ||

    It sounds to me like we live in fascist China or Nazi Germany. Our government criticizes other governments for exactly this kind of behavior yet we just as guilty or more guilty.

  • Howlin' Hobbit||

    @ jonathan: I find it appalling, though not necessarily surprising, that the nanny state I live in (Washington) has such a law on their books.

  • ||

    They seem to forget that an "unconstitutional law, isn't enforceable,as if it never existed". And a judge enforcing an unconstitutional law, automatically resigns. Maybe some class action suits will remind them. If cops can have cameras in their cars, with audio, so can we. F' these Nazi's.

  • ||

    Whenever you call ANY government phone number, you hear "this call may be recorded for quality assurance" why cant we expect quality from elected and appointed officials? why cant we expect them to know what they are doing in their official capacities, may be recorded for quality assurance?

  • ||

    All the more reason to stay out of Illinois and Masshole

  • Christopher J Hoffman||

    So, I suppose those dash cams are illegal then without my expressed consent, right?

  • ||

    Exactly.

  • mkoenig||

    Good guess, but wrong.

    720 ILCS 5 [Eavesdropping] Sec. 14‑3. Exemptions. The following activities shall be exempt from the provisions of this Article: (h) Recordings made simultaneously with a video recording of an oral conversation between a peace officer, who has identified his or her office, and a person stopped for an investigation of an offense under the Illinois Vehicle Code.

  • Kevin Dunbar||

    I was threatened with felony charges when Pike county thugs in uniform pulled me over (by the end of the ordeal there was 3 cars and 4 Kops) on my way back from a shopping trip in Springfield IL. They pulled me over for "following to closely" which is absurd because I had my turn signal on and slowing down to make a turn. My phone has a voice recorder on it, so I turned it on for my own protection. He accused the passenger of lying about something. I told him he was full of Shxt, and asked him if he wanted me to play back the recording. He flipped out. Pulled me out of the car and threatened me with felonies for recording. In Missouri only one party needs to know that it is being recorded. Apparently in IL everyone has to know, which is kind of ironic seeing as they were recording me (dash cam) without my consent. Shouldn't I be able to file felony charges on them? Oh yeah, that's right, Kops are above the law #-o

    They ran a drug dog around my car 3 times and on the last circle claimed he "alerted" BULLSHXT!!!! I was on a family shopping trip, and had my daughters with me. They made everyone get out of the car so they could search it. My oldest daughter (7) was crying and freaking out. I had some choice words with those thugs! The kept giving me the line "It would be soooo much easier if you would just cooperate with us" I more or less told them to get bent! They eventually (after 45 minutes to an hour) let us go. I committed no crime, and still had to go through all of that BS. Still think we don't live in a police state? Fxck cops, every single one of them!

  • JBC||

    I had a similar experience in Florida, minus the recording kerfluffle. I was pulled out of a roadblock in the middle of nowhere because of a burnt out tail light. They had the dogs sniff around my whole car several times and finally pulled me out and searched the car because the dog had "alerted." Never mind that the dog never made a sound or abnormal body gesture. I was interrogated by six cops, all shining their flashlights in my face, literally pushing me against the wall and saying things like "I wasn't born yesterday! Tell us the truth!" (actual quote)

    After an hour of this and tearing my car apart - which involved literally tearing up the carpeting - they gave up and let me go. The best part was as I was driving away, another car pulled in and both dogs who had oh-so-quietly "alerted" on my car started barking their heads off when it was still 50 yards away. Nice try, rednecks.

  • ||

    Ever since the shrub signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 the constitution is all but null and void.

  • ||

    Why is it okay for the government and businesses to videotape you using their security cameras but it is not okay for you to tape them using your cell phone?

  • ||

    Why is it okay for the government and businesses to videotape you using their security cameras but it is not okay for you to tape them using your cell phone?

  • MAquibble||

    Your "Update/Correction" about the Massachusetts "All-party-consent law" confused me relative to my prior understanding and prompted me to look up the law online. According to The General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 272: Section 99, B. (Definitions), "4. The term “interception” means to secretly hear, secretly record, or aid another to secretly hear or secretly record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than a person given prior authority by all parties to such communication;...".

    How is it possible to "secretly" do anything if all parties have consented to it? I read this that if you record someone you've got to tell them so it isn't a secret.

    Would this protect me in Massachusetts if I tell the police officer first thing that our conversation is being recorded? (Even if it isn't.)

    Link to text of law above:
    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-99.htm

  • ||

    Apparently, the charges against George Donnelly in Allentown PA, are being dropped.

    The heat is on, it ought to be brought to bare in PA and in the Northern District of Illinois.

    Dropped charges are not enough, it is time to go after the livelihoods of the thugs in funny costumes on their own playing field; in the civil courts.

  • pmanster||

    I am a PI fro Chicago and agree this law needs change. Single party consent is sufficient in federal court. The only reason Illinois tightened the law up was to protect the bad guys. The law needs changing so we can clear the air for some honest politicians to have a chance, The scum bags running Illinois need to get a real job!

  • Noone||

    They have a job to serve and protect themselves apparently everyone one else is just fukked we just don't realize that

  • teknomad||

    Yeah, I know I'm late to this party, but I have a few things to say, esp. since I live in IL.

    First, note that the IL law appears to allow the citizen the right to withdraw consent from being videotaped by the cop's in-car camera. I haven't tried it, but I will...I seem to get stopped once every 18 months for speeding (I have a lead foot), so I'll have an opportunity here shortly.

    Second, it seems to me that if the police simply posted EVERY video they make to YouTube there'd be a significant drop in crime of all sorts. The threat of your interrogation room footage showing you whining like a baby, or implicating your friends, or looking like a clueless idiot, should be enough to make all but the most hardened sociopaths think twice about infracting the law.

  • Jeff||

    I think if only more people would recognize that NJ solar is the way to go, the videotaping issue would become a moot point.

  • ||

    http://www.copblock.org/cameramap/

    Across the country, police officers and other government officials are waging a war on cameras. People everywhere are being harassed, detained, threatened, assaulted, and even arrested just for legally taking photographs or filming. Government officials are even unlawfully confiscating cameras and destroying photographs and videos. This map was created to track this disturbing trend.

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