M. Spencer Green, Associated Press
This photo taken, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Chicago, shows artist and free speech blogger Christopher Drew in his studio. Drew was charged under the Illinois eavesdropping law on Dec. 2, 2009, after police arrested him for selling screen prints for $1 on Chicago's State Street without a license. Drew had blogged about his intention to be arrested to challenge the right to sell art in public and put a digital recorder in one of the sandwich bags pinned to his red poncho to display his art. When police discovered the recorder after his arrest, he was not charged with a misdemeanor, he was charged with an eavesdropping felony. He spent three days in jail and faces up to 15 years in prison, with his trial date approaching in late spring of this year. Many more people could be introduced to the Illinois law in May when thousands of protesters and journalists head to Chicago for the NATO and G8 summits.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois residents don't have the right to record audio of their conversations with police, a law that some state legislators say needs to be changed, especially with the likelihood of protests at this spring's NATO and G8 summits in Chicago.
Illinois' strict eavesdropping law requires all parties in a conversation to give consent in order for it to be audio-recorded. Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, is sponsoring a bill that would allow for exceptions. She says she doesn't believe there is an expectation of privacy for public officials on public property doing public duties.
The current law faces multiple challenges in state and federal court. Illlinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed for the state Supreme Court to address the law after a Crawford County judge declared it unconstitutional last September.