IL Bill Would Repeal Ban on Recording Police

Friday, January 13th, 2012

More good news:

With the constitutionality of Illinois’ eavesdropping law already facing several court challenges, a Democratic state representative from Northbrook has filed a bill that would allow people to audio-record a police officer working in public without the officer’s consent.

“I believe that the existing statute is a significant intrusion into First Amendment rights, so with the prosecutions and the court cases that have been reported about, it just seemed that this is a problem in need of a swift solution,” Rep. Elaine Nekritz said in an interview Thursday.

Illinois’ eavesdropping law is one of the strictest in the country and makes it illegal to audio-record police without their consent, even when they’re working in public.

It’s really pretty amazing how quickly things have been moving in the right direction on this issue. No guarantee the bill will pass, of course. But if you live in Illinois, you might give your state rep and state senator a call.

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15 Responses to “IL Bill Would Repeal Ban on Recording Police”

  1. #1 |  RomanCandle | 

    I know everyone is supposed to be hiply cynical on the internet, but You really do get the feeling that the good guys are winning this issue.

  2. #2 |  Henry Bowman | 

    .I wonder why the statute would limit legal recording to audio, rather than audio and video.

  3. #3 |  Radley Balko | 

    Video is already legal.

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    good news.

  5. #5 |  Dante | 

    “It’s really pretty amazing how quickly things have been moving in the right direction on this issue. ”

    It’s an election year. After seeing all the promises made and broken in the last election(s), I’m afraid I simply can’t get past the fact that American politicians don’t serve anyone other than themselves.

    If legislation they propose is helpful, it was an accident.

  6. #6 |  Difster | 

    Excellent news.

  7. #7 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    @Dante

    Right. I can’t shake that feeling either.

  8. #8 |  Lint | 

    Good news? On this blog?

    Wait, are we on Bizarro World?

  9. #9 |  Mark Z. | 

    It’s Illinois, so remember that you can still write to your state legislator even if you don’t live in the state, have been dead for up to two years, or are a dog.

  10. #10 |  Windypundit | 

    You can even write your legislator more than once.

  11. #11 |  Aresen | 

    Uh. Let’s see what’s left after the Police Union and their captive legislators get through with it.

  12. #12 |  Chris Mallory | 

    In Illinois, nothing gets passed unless the Chicago machine wants it passed.

  13. #13 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “But if you live in Illinois, you might give your state rep and state senator a call.”

    Will do. Thanks for the update, Radley.

  14. #14 |  dunphy | 

    imo, any law that bans recording of cops (in public etc.) is clearly unconstitutional and i’m confident given sufficient time, judicial review would confirm that.

    however, it’s good to see states repealing these laws and/or dept’s changing policy, etc.

    all cops should support the right of others to film/tape them, and their right to film/tape others.

    it protects good cops from false complaints and protects society from bad cops

    win/win

    fwiw, MY police union has never done anything but support people’s right to film us

    one of my partner’s was just exonerated from a complaint because there was video/audio proving the guy completely fabricated his complaint

    and then there’s this case…
    http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2011/12/lawyer-suspended-for-false-accusation-of-anti-semitism-against-cop.html

    n Matter of Dear, a guy gets a speeding ticket for going 85 in a 55 zone. Said guy happens to be a lawyer. And said lawyer, who is also an orthodox Jew, tries to blast his way out of the ticket with this humdinger of a letter:

    “Ladies and Gentlemen:
    This ticket shall be dismissed immediately since -
    a. there was no speeding and the officer refused to show me evidence that there was: (i.e. – “not guilty”)
    b. even if there was speeding (which there wasn’t) – I was in a 65-mph zone NOT a 55 mph zone; and
    c. The officer called me a “jew kike” – and this prejudice obviously was the cause for the ticket.
    I am a licensed attorney in NY State and will be representing myself in this matter (contact details enclosed).
    Eliot Dear
    [signed] Eliot Dear Esq.
    [business card attached]“

    Ouch. You know where this is going, right? The cop had a video camera on the car, unbeknownst to Dear. And the cop was wired for audio.

    And when confronted on the phone about this by an investigator — who was also recording the call — he didn’t ‘fess up that he had lied. The decision by the First Department today continues regarding the investigation:

    The interview continued and respondent added that the trooper dismissed respondent’s proffered explanation for speeding, namely, that his pregnant wife needed a bathroom, as more baloney from “you guys,” which respondent stated referred to orthodox Jews. Respondent further recounted that the trooper displayed a demeaning attitude toward respondent and his wife. However, none of this information was supported by the video or audio recordings made during the traffic stop.

    “You guys.” Nice.

    There is a long explanation offered in mitigation — offered after he finally does ‘fesses up — about his psychiatric treatment for a variety of problems and family issues.

    And the verdict? Suspended for six months. The Court finds that Dear made accusations, ”which accusations were prejudicial to the administration of justice, engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness as an attorney, [and] asserted positions which served to harass and maliciously injure.”

    Why suspension and not something a little lighter? The Court:

    Here, respondent cavalierly attributed anti-Semitic slurs to an innocent person in a manner which could have had devastating consequences to that person’s career. This act alone warrants a harsh sanction, not to mention that it was done to gain an advantage in an administrative proceeding. Notwithstanding the mitigating evidence and respondent’s apparently sincere remorse, his behavior was reckless and reflects poorly on the bar. Under the circumstances, censure or admonition is simply too lenient a penalty.

    File this under Attorney Ethics.

  15. #15 |  Deserve’s Got Nothing To Do With It | The Agitator | 

    [...] which citizens increasingly record the police — a trend welcomed by readers of this blog, but controversial in circles accustomed to deference to police. It may be because the Rodney King criminal and civil trials were the most visible attempt of the [...]

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