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Going to Chicago? Better Leave Your Audio Equipment at Home

A silkscreen artist's long-running opposition to Chicago restrictions on street sales of artwork has netted him a Class I felony charge.

Activist artist Chris Drew's campaign, and resulting legal situation, heated up on Dec. 2, 2009, when he hit the streets to sell his art. Drew was prepared to face a misdemeanor charge for civil disobedience and expected to go on to state his case in court. What he did not expect was that his audio-recording of his arrest would result in felony charges for violating the Illinois Eavesdropping Act. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to The Huffington Post.

As it happens, Illinois is one of 12 states in the United States that has a "two-party consent" eavesdropping law, which requires consent from all parties before a conversation may be legally audio-recorded. Furthermore, Illinois is one of only three states that prohibit recording police conversations.

Illinois is currently prosecuting nine individuals, including Drew, for recording conversations with police. The ACLU is challenging the Illinois law on First Amendment grounds, arguing that there should be no expectation of privacy regarding public events.

Guest blogger Ruth Carter is a law student in her final semester at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Posted by Laurel Newby on January 27, 2011 at 03:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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