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Illinois House Judiciary Committee To Review Use of Police Body Cams

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Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois state law,Members of the Illinois Legislature recently met to discuss how the newly proposed eavesdropping laws would affect police officers' use of body cams. Body cams are cameras attached to police officers, which can be used to record interactions with potential suspects and the general public. The use of body cameras by law enforcement professionals across the nation has increased in recent years, as has the criticism of such practices. Because Illinois' past eavesdropping law was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court earlier this year, there has been careful and intensive reviews of all aspects of the proposed legislation, which could soon set new parameters regarding the use of body cams by Illinois police officers.

The Proposed Eavesdropping Law

The Illinois Supreme Court issued two opinions on March 20th, 2014 which served to effectively strike down Illinois' eavesdropping law. This law criminalized the recording of conversations without all of the involved parties' consent, and the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that such a law was unconstitutional and also overly broad in nature. Because this law was stuck down and has not yet been replaced with a new law, people are free to tape both public and private conversations without fear of legal retribution when the involved parties' consent has not be obtained. As a result of this ruling, the Illinois General Assembly has been scrambling to create a new eavesdrop law capable of surviving review by the Illinois Supreme Court. This process has not been easy and has required careful consideration of an assortment of constitutional factors in order to ensure that the new eavesdropping law does not have the same fate as the previous law.

The Debates Regarding Police Body Cams

Proponents of police body cams believe that the use of these cameras will disincentivize police officers from abusing their power while on patrol and during the performance of other police duties. In recent years, police-worn body cams have increased in use by law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. In the wake of the police brutality claims in Ferguson, Missouri and other policies, many believe that police body cams could potentially be used as evidence of wrongful acts committed by police officers while in the line of duty. However, opponents worry that police body cams raise significant constitutional issues with regards to privacy rights. Furthermore, it remains unclear when police officers should be allowed to turn these cameras on, and additional issues could arise if such cameras are turned on during cases involving rape or domestic violence victims.

The Illinois legislatures has its work cut out for it when it comes to developing the new Illinois eavesdropping law. It remains to be seen how the use of police body cams will be incorporated into the final enacted law. If you need assistance from an experienced Joliet criminal law attorney, contact the Law Offices of Cosmo Tedone and Barbara Morton, P.C. today. We are ready to provide you with an aggressive defense and answer any questions you have.
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