The Daily Parker

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"Eavesdropper" acquitted; law still not tested

Yesterday I wrote about a criminal trial here in Chicago in which a woman was charged with felony eavesdropping for recording a conversation with two police officers. Under Illinois law, this "crime" carries the same penalties as rape and manslaughter. The law needs to go, whether through repeal (unlikely) or being overturned by a Federal appeals court (more likely).

Good news for Tiawanda Moore this afternoon, but bad news for Illinois civil liberties: she got acquitted:

[A] Criminal Court jury quickly repudiated the prosecution's case, taking less than an hour to acquit Moore on both eavesdropping counts.

"The two cops came across as intimidating and insensitive," said one juror, Ray Adams, 57, a pharmacist from the western suburbs. "Everybody thought it was just a waste of time and that (Moore) never should have been charged."

The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago last year challenging the law, saying it was unconstitutional to prevent people from openly recording police officers working in public. A federal judge dismissed the suit, but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments next month in the ACLU's appeal of the decision.

The 7th Circuit has a reputation for evenness. We can hope, at least; but the ACLU's case will probably take another few years to finish.

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