By Megan Geuss | Published about 19 hours ago
In Cook County today Judge Stanley J. Sacks declared Illinois’ eavesdropping law—which is one of the toughest in the nation—unconstitutional in his ruling in the case of Christopher Drew, who was charged with the felony crime in 2009.
The eavesdropping law prohibits citizens from making audio or visual recordings of others without every recorded person’s explicit consent. 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.
A citizen’s right to record police has certainly been a contentious topic of debate recently. The First Circuit US Court of Appeals has considered whether making recordings of police with the recording device in plain sight is considered a secret recording or not, and a Miami photojournalist was arrested and had his videos of police activity deleted while he was detained.