Illinois Eavesdropping Law Enforced in DuPage County

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Last month, Malia K. “Kim” Bendis, president of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group, was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors’, attempted eavesdropping and resisting a peace officer, and is the most recent arrest for violation of Illinois Eavesdropping Law following of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the 50-year-old anti-eavesdropping law in Illinois violates constitutional protections of free speech. More specifically, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling from earlier last year where the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law violates the First Amendment when, “used against those who record police officers doing their jobs in public.” Furthermore, it was reported that the ability of citizens to record audio and video of interactions with law enforcement helps guard against police abuse.

When asked his thoughts on the issue of what is considered one of the toughest eavesdropping laws of its kind in the country, Walter Mitchell Jr., a local truck driver and citizen journalist commented, “The eavesdropping law in and of itself is a bit flawed in my opinion.” Referencing Cook County Attorney General Anita Alvarez, Mitchell further stated, “The way it’s been perverted by Anita Alvarez to deny the citizens of Illinois the right to protect themselves against abusive police officers is criminal and tyrannical”

According to a news report written by Michael Tarm, the law’s proponents, including Alvarez, have been arguing that the law protects the privacy rights of officers and civilians while also ensuring non-law enforcement personnel wielding recording devices don’t interfere with urgent police work.

Regardless of the opinion of those that fought to overturn the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, another lower court judge granted a permanent injunction to the ACLU, allowing them to be able to record law enforcement officials in public without fear of arrest on December 24, 2012, just a little over a month prior to Kim Bendis’ arrest and ending a two-year legal battle in which Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez did all she could to keep the law, which as a Class 1 Felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, alive.

As for Bendis, she is currently free on bond pending arraignment.

Illinois Eavesdropping Law, Kim Bendis, Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group

Guidelines for recording police. 2013. Image by David Amburgey. 2City News.

1 Comment

  1. paulsimon

    January 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    The has issued an informational video and a press release, to help the media and the general public in the upcoming oral argument at the Illinois Supreme Court hearing in Annabel Melongo’s eavesdropping case. The hearing is scheduled for January 14th, 2014, at the 18th floor of the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago at 9.30 am.

    Press Release:

    Please support this cause. The Illinois Eavesdropping law at its very core creates a two-class legal system wherein the conversations of the powerful and well-connected are protected to the detriment of the less powerful. The upcoming oral argument presents a unique opportunity for the common citizen to re-establish that legal balance that will unequivocally establish a right to record public officials in their public duties.

    Therefore, please contribute to this all-important hearing by either attending it, writing about it, spreading the word or just forwarding the below video and press release to anybody who might be of any help.

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