The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a case regarding the monitoring of police practices in Illinois, allowing a lower court's ruling to stand.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit temporarily block enforcement of the Illinois' Eavesdropping Act earlier this year, ruling in Anita Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois that it restricted "far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests." The law made it illegal to record police officers performing their public duties, with exemptions for law enforcement and the media.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois challenged the law in 2010, claiming it violated the First Amendment.
"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," Harvey Grossman, Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement.
The ACLU of Illinois is now seeking to have the law permanently blocked.
"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," Grossman added.
[Police recording via Lilac Mountain / Shutterstock.com]