In September, an Illinois state judge dismissed charges against a man who faced a potential sentence of 75 years in prison for recording police officers and attempting to tape his own trial.
Circuit Court Judge David Frankland declared the charges against Michael Allison unconstitutional. He replied in his ruling, “…a statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties. Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information.”
Illinois has an eavesdropping law that is meant to be enforced for phone calls. But police and district attorneys have taken it a step further, attempting to link the law to videotaping. Katz vs. the United States established that citizens have the right to do this. But in cases like this, it shows how desperate some DA’s are to protect their police departments from any citizen who may videotape them doing criminal acts.