Cook County has seen an explosion of surveillance cameras in public, but the same county is not at all keen to have the “little people” recording law enforcement there.
So, they arrested the lowly citizens making recordings and tried to put them through the wringer.
Well, that didn’t work so well.
Cook County will be paying the ACLU over $600,000 in legal fees to fight the Illinois eavesdropping law when it comes to recording police on the job while in public locations.
Illinois county to pay ACLU $600K after high court voids eavesdropping law
(ARSTechnica) – In 2012, Illinois saw a rash of cases involving the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which forbade making audio or visual recordings of people without explicit consent from everyone in the recording. In practice, the law made recording on-duty police officers a felony in the state. The prosecutions of citizens that ensued prompted the ACLU to challenge the state’s Eavesdropping Act, and it was eventually ruled unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds in the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In November 2012, the US Supreme Court denied a request from a Chicago-based prosecutor to review the Seventh Circuit’s decision, letting it stand.
That victory for defendants who were charged with violating the Act has helped the ACLU in similar cases. In 2010, the group brought a case against Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who had been prosecuting ACLU staff members for recording on-duty police officers. The Northern Illinois District Court judge overseeing the case ruled that in light of the higher courts’ decisions, Alvarez may not charge anyone else with violating the Eavesdropping Act. And now this month, the judge ruled that Cook County taxpayers must foot the $645,549 legal bill the ACLU racked up prosecuting the county’s state prosecutor. The payment of that penalty will be finalized at a Cook County board meeting on Wednesday of next week, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.