Illinois eavesdropping law challenged

Jan. 13, 2012 at 9:22 AM
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CHICAGO, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A bill introduced in Illinois' Legislature would overturn a controversial eavesdropping law making it a felony to audio-record police officers, officials say.

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, introduced the measure that would make it legal to record officers on the grounds that officers working in the public should not consider their actions private.

"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, it just seemed that this is a problem in need of a swift solution," Nekritz told the Chicago Tribune Thursday.

Illinois' strict eavesdropping law's constitutionality already has been challenged in court. The law states audio-recording a police officer working in the public without consent is a felony -- punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

In September, after a Crawford County judge declared the law unconstitutional and dismissed a case against a man accused of recording police, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she would appeal directly to the state Supreme Court.

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