August 30, 2011
For the crime of recording police during a citation and taking a tape recorder into the courtroom, 41-year old mechanic Michael Allison faces a life sentence in prison. The state of Illinois has charged Allison with five counts of wiretapping, each punishable by four to 15 years in prison.
The case reveals how far the authorities will go in their efforts to squelch the rights of citizens and prevent them from documenting the abuses of police and other government officials.
The above news report aired in June. It appeared on YouTube last week.
As Radley Balko noted on his blog in June, the report filed by a Terre Haute news station is riddled with misinformation:
The report gets a few things wrong, most notably the assertion recording cops is “illegal in a dozen states”. A dozen states require all parties to consent before you can record a conversation, but all except Illinois and Massachusetts have an “expectation of privacy” provision that the courts to this point have ruled does not apply to on-duty police officers (or anyone in a public setting). That hasn’t stopped police from arresting people in those states (and others) anyway. But the charges don’t hold up in court. FULL STORY