Is it illegal to record public officials in Illinois?

January 11, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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Wiretapping laws elicit First Amendment issues.

The case of Michael Allison may have slipped past your radar. Allison lives in Bridgeport, Ill., in the southeastern part of the state. His alleged violations of an “eyesore” ordinance led to frequent interactions with the local police. Allison felt harassed and decided to record these visits with police. He also took his tape recorder to court and that move landed him in jail. The crime: Violating Illinois’ wiretapping laws.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the problem is not what Allison did but the law itself. To understand more about the rights of citizens when it comes to taping public officials we turned to University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone.

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