Audio Recordings of Police Are Protected By First Amendment According to Two Different Courts Of Appeal.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a blow to Illinois’ 50-year-old anti-eavesdropping law according to trial lawyer Funkenbusch. The Illinois Eavesdropping Act, enacted in 1961, makes it a felony for someone to produce an audio recording of a conversation unless all the parties involved agree. It sets a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison if a law enforcement officer is recorded.
In refusing to hear the appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court finding that major parts of the eavesdropping law violate constitutional protections of free speech.
The 7th Circuit majority found that the Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts a medium of expression commonly used for the preservation and communication of information and ideas, thus triggering First Amendment scrutiny. In particular, the court noted that the statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests.
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