Another blow for state's anti-eavesdropping law

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Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois free-speech advocates have welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court decision that delivers another blow to one of the country's most stringent anti-eavesdropping laws.
   
The high court Monday rejected an Illinois prosecutor's plea and let stand a key lower-court ruling.
   
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that Illinois' law violates free-speech rights when used against people who tape police in public. Violators face a maximum 15-year prison term.
   
The law's opponents say the right to record police helps guard against police abuses.
   
An American Civil Liberties Union's lawyer, Harvey Grossman, says Monday's decision kicks the case back to a U.S. District Court. A federal judge could now make a temporary injunction against the law permanent.
   
There are already moves afoot by state legislators to change the law.

Earlier story:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has rejected an Illinois prosecutor's plea to allow enforcement of a law aimed at stopping people from recording police officers on the job.
   
The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that found that the state's anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers. The law sets out a maximum prison term of 15 years.
   
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to block prosecution of ACLU staff for recording police officers performing their duties in public places, one of the group's long-standing monitoring missions.
   
Opponents of the law say the right to record police is vital to guard against abuses.

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