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Archive for the ‘eavesdropping law’ tag

Illinois Legislature Passes Police Body Camera Law

June 15th, 2015 at 7:27 am

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, police brutality,In the wake of the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and countless other unarmed African-American men, women, and children by police officers, the public has finally started to demand that something be done about our nation’s police problem. One of the possible solutions that has been offered is requiring police officers to wear body cameras to record their conduct and misconduct. The footage created by these cameras could exonerate innocent officers, and, conversely, could be used to prosecute guilty officers. They may deter police misconduct. And, the footage could be used by criminal defense attorneys to prove when police officers violate defendants’ rights. Illinois may be the first state to enact legislation requiring police to use these cameras.

Bill Passes through Illinois Legislature and Awaits the Governor’s Signature

The State Journal-Register reports that the Illinois legislature passed a body camera bill and that it is waiting for the governor’s signature. This bill is the first of its nature to pass since President Obama convened the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. If the governor signs the bill, Illinois will be the first state to pass such a law. This one would include requirements regarding body cameras, would create new training for police officers, and would create a database where officers who commit crimes can be tracked so it is less difficult for problem officers to jump from department to department.

The New Bill Likely Does Not Go Far Enough

While this bill may be a good first step, it does not go far enough. It does not require police to wear body cameras at all times. Instead it simply changes the state’s eavesdropping law to allow police to use body cameras and it sets standards for their use. For example, any officers who wear these body cameras will be legally obligated to record any incident with the public. That is a fantastic provision that could be huge in protecting innocent officers while aiding in the prosecution of the bad ones. But, without a requirement that all officers wear the cameras, the provision is actually quite toothless.

Another troubling provision of the law is that it would allow cops to turn off the recorders when interviewing a witness or a victim. This is a huge mistake. There is a real problem of some police officers coercing witnesses and victims to say certain things to help officers build their case. This can rise to the level of misconduct or even criminal activity on an officer’s part. Allowing them to turn off the cameras during these conversations undercuts the potential value of these devices.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Sometimes when the police go too far, no one dies, but people wind up wrongfully arrested and charged with serious crimes. If this happened in your case, you will want the help of a talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who will use all of the tools legally available to help you fight your case. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we will schedule an appointment so we can learn about your case and decide upon the best strategy to use for you.

May 27th, 2015

Illinois Passes Another Troubling Eavesdropping Law

December 23rd, 2014 at 6:57 am

criminal rights violation, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, In the past the Illinois legislature passed a law that, among other things, made it illegal for law abiding citizens to record on-duty police officers doing their job. Fortunately, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down this terrible law, which was obviously unconstitutional. Illinois legislature has now passed another eavesdropping law, and while it does not have the exact same problems as the first law, it is still deeply troubling to anyone who cares about civil liberties or the rights of criminal defendants.

The New Eavesdropping Law

NBC Chicago reported on the new law, which passed the state Senate by a margin of 46 to four and is now awaiting the governor’s signature. It is supposed to focus on protecting “private” conversations. The prior law in Illinois made it illegal to record any conversation without having the consent of all of the parties involved. That is how prosecutors used it to prosecute citizens who recorded cops behaving badly. This new law will keep the ban on recording a conversation without every party’s consent, but will supposedly only apply to private conversations. However, that is not all the law does. It also dangerously expands the power of police to record citizens without seeking a warrant.

Law Expands Police Power

The new law would allow police to secretly record a suspect’s conversations for 24 hours without getting a warrant. Instead they would only have to get the permission of a prosecutor. In other words, they only have to get the permission of someone who is already on their side. This differs wildly from the previous requirement that they get a warrant to do such a wiretap. Getting a warrant requires that they prove to a magistrate (a neutral judge) that they have probable cause before they can start spying on a citizen. The old law allowed this sort of behavior under certain emergencies, like in a hostage situation, but the new law would allow much broader recording.

What About Body Cameras?

The new law, if it passes, will also make creating a comprehensive body camera plan for police officers more complicated. Unless police officers are required to consent to being recorded at all times in order to be officers, then they could argue that they should be allowed to turn the cameras off when they are having “private conversations.” These private conversations could include the very conduct and attitudes that the body cameras are designed to detect in the first place.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a crime, you will need the assistance of a trained and experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation today. We can discuss your case and determine what we can do to help you. If you are not charged with a crime, but a loved one is, please also feel free to call.

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