Thank you, Judge David Frankland.
Thank you for having the common sense to see that the Illinois wiretapping law is unconstitutional when abused.
Thank you for throwing out the case of Michael Allison, who was facing 75 years in prison for recording public officials – including a judge – without their consent.
That just leaves Christopher Drew, another Illinois man facing 15 years in prison for audio recording cops who were harassing him on a public street for selling art without a license.
His case was suspended after he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year, according to Radley Balko.
But the charges still hang over him because the law is still intact.
Circuit Court Judge David Frankland stated the following Thursday, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
“A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties,” the judge wrote in his decision dismissing the five counts of eavesdropping charges against defendant Michael Allison.
“Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information,” he wrote.
“The statute [as it is currently written] includes conduct that is unrelated to the statute’s purpose and is not rationally related to the evil the legislation sought to prohibit,” the judge wrote in his opinion. “For example, a defendant recording his case in a courtroom has nothing to do with an intrusion into a citizen’s privacy but with distraction.”
This decision should be taken into consideration when federal judges rule on Alvarez vs ACLU this year, which is trying to change Illinois’ wiretapping law by pointing out it is unconstitutional.