NPR : News

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Case On Taping Police Officers

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case on the constitutionality of recording police officers while they do their job.

This means the court leaves in place a lower-court ruling, which found placing limits on taping police in public spaces unconstitutional.

The ACLU of Illinois brought the a suit against Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in 2010, after her office wanted to bring charges against ACLU staff recording audio of "police officers performing their public duties in a public place and speaking loudly enough to be heard by a passerby."

The state attorney wanted to bring the charges based on Illinois' eavesdropping law, which has gained much attention lately.

"Two state court judges have ruled that the application of the law to prosecute individuals for recording police in a public place is unconstitutional," the ACLU said in a press release. "And, a Cook County jury last year acquitted a young woman charged with the offense."

The Chicago Tribune reports the woman in that case recorded a "Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer."

In another case, another state attorney "cited flaws in the law when he dropped charges this past February against a man accused of recording an officer during a traffic stop."

The ACLU said the next step is to obtain a permanent injunction against prosecution in cases like these. Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement:

"The ACLU of Illinois continues to believe that in order to make the rights of free expression and petition effective, individuals and organizations must be able to freely gather and record information about the conduct of government and their agents – especially the police. The advent and widespread accessibility of new technologies make the recording and dissemination of pictures and sound inexpensive, efficient and easy to accomplish.

"While a final ruling in this case will only address the work of the ACLU of Illinois to monitor police activity, we believe that it will have a ripple effect throughout the entire state. We are hopeful that we are moving closer to a day when no one in Illinois will risk prosecution when they audio record public officials performing their duties. Empowering individuals and organizations in this fashion will ensure additional transparency and oversight of public officials across the State."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

When Caravaggio Plays Quevedo In Tennis, The Court Becomes A Sonnet

"It's a little space, well-measured and precise, in which you have to keep the ball bouncing," says Álvaro Enrigue. His book, Sudden Death, pits the Italian painter against the Spanish poet.
WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

NPR

Password Security Is So Bad, President Obama Weighs In

In unveiling a sweeping plan to fund and revamp cybersecurity, the president asks citizens to consider using extra layers of security besides the password.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.