United States Supreme Court refuses to consider Illinois eavesdropping statute, leaving in…

United States Supreme Court refuses to consider Illinois eavesdropping statute, leaving in place Seventh Circuit’s questioning of its constitutionality

Today, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari and refused to consider the constitutionality of Illinois’ controversial eavesdropping law, in 12-318, Anita Alvarez v. ACLU. This leaves in place the the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in ACLU v. Alvarez, No. 11-1286, ruling that the Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts a medium of expression commonly used for the preservation of communication and ideas in a manner that triggers First Amendment scrutiny.

The Appellate Court had issued a preliminary injunction for the prosecution of 720 ILCS 5/14-2(a)(1) where persons audiotape the performance of police officers performing their duties in public. The Court stated that Illinois has criminalized the non-consensual recording of public officials doing the public’s business in public regardless of whether the recording is open or hidden.
Although the Court reversed and remanded the case to the federal District Court, the issuance of the preliminary injunction clearly signifies the Court’s opinion regarding the Constitutionality of the statute.

As previously posted in this blog, the statute has been controversial, with more than one lower state circuit court judge ruling against its constitutionality. The Seventh Circuit’s ruling does more than that in that it preliminarily prohibits enforcement of the statute. The Court’s opinion may be found at 679 F.3d 583(7th Cir. 2012). (Per request of commentators, blog post edited to state formal citation of the Seventh Circuit’s opinion.)

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