Published on March 2nd, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


The Law Barring You Recording Police In Illinois Is Unconstitutional Says Judge

One of the goods things about technology is that it helps to empower citizens to better protect themselves when dealing with the government and law enforcement agencies. This of course has those agencies worried and as a result have tried to put as many roadblock in the way of citizens as they can.

One of those ways, which is being tried in more and more states, it so make it illegal for you to record the actions of the police using either audio or video. Illinois was one of those state, with apparently one of the toughest in the nation, that sought to enforce this type of law.

Well, in Cook County today Judge Stanley J. Sacks wasn’t having any of that as he declared that the state’s eavesdropping law was unconstitutional. His decision was a result of the case of Christopher Drew who had been charged with the felony crime back in 2009.

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.

via Ars Technica

Now to be clear Judge Sacks didn’t declare Illinois’ law unconstitutional because it’s a citizen’s right to be able to record any interactions between the police and the public but rather because he felt that the law was too far reaching.




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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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