Court blocks enforcement of eavesdropping law

05/09/2012 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // justicenews // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Chicago – A federal appeals court has blocked the enforcement of an Illinois eavesdropping law in some instances. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), enforcement of the 1961 law, which prohibits producing recorded audio conversations unless all parties are in agreement, is no longer applicable in instances involving police officers being recorded at work.

As noted in the report, the decision is deemed a victory for activists concerned about phone or video recordings taken during the NATO summit in Chicago to be held later this month. Punishment under the law for recording a law enforcement officer is up to 15 years in jail.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is quoted by the AP as writing in its decision, “The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests… As applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech and free-press guarantees.”

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