Judge Rules Against State's Ban On Recording Police Officers
CHICAGO (CBS) — A judge on Friday tossed out the controversial Illinois eavesdropping law, which makes it a crime to record police officers, according to a published report.
Criminal Court Judge Stanley Sacks ruled that the Illinois Eavesdropping Act criminalizes "wholly innocent conduct," and thus is unconstitutional, CBS 2 reports.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports
The ruling comes in the case of artist Chris Drew, who had been charged of violating the Eavesdropping Act when he was arrested in December 2009 for peddling his art without a permit on State Street downtown.
Drew was charged with videotaping his own arrest, and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Drew's attorney, Mark Weinberg, said his client was ecstatic, but frustrated.
"It was a two-year ordeal, and as somebody said, there's little joy in justice, because the taste of injustice is still in your mouth," he said.
But the battle against the Eavesdropping Act is not over. A parallel case is under appeal, and Weinberg says Drew's case will be decided ultimately by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Currently, someone who records a police officer, prosecutor or any other member of the law enforcement community without his or her permission can be charged with a Class 1 felony.