|The ruling is in for the local man facing prison time for recording audio of law enforcement without their consent.|
The case against Michael Allison has been thrown out.
Allison had faced five felony eavesdropping charges in Crawford County, Illinois.
Judge David Frankland's ruling says the Illinois eavesdropping statute is unconstitutional.
Allison could have faced 15 years in prison for each charge if he had been convicted.
Although the case is dropped, the state could still appeal.
Allison is looking for an attorney who wants to file a civil lawsuit for wrongful prosecution and to challenge the state statute.
(See previous reports on case at link above)
|In addition to Moore's, there are two other cases that may present an opportunity to challenge the Illinois law. One is that of Michael Allison.|
This Robinson, Ill., man is facing four counts of violating the eavesdropping law for the recordings he made of police officers and a judge. Allison was suing the city to challenge a local zoning ordinance that prevented him from enjoying his hobby fixing up old cars: The municipal government was seizing his cars from his property and forcing him to pay to have them returned. Allison believed the local police were harassing him in retaliation for his lawsuit, so he began to record his conversations with them.
When Allison was eventually charged with violating the zoning ordinance, he asked for a court reporter to ensure there would be a record of his trial. He was told that misdemeanor charges didn't entitle him to a court reporter. So Allison told court officials he'd be recording his trial with a digital recorder.
When Allison walked into the courtroom the day of his trial, the judge had him arrested for allegedly violating her right to privacy. Police then confiscated Allison's digital recorder, where they also found the recordings he'd made of his conversations with cops.
Allison has no prior criminal record. If convicted, he faces up to 75 years in prison.
In a hearing last week, Allison argued that the Illinois eavesdropping case was a violation of the First Amendment. The judge ordered a continuance so that the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan can prepare a response. (Madigan's office did not respond to HuffPost's request for comment.)
The other case to challenge the wiretap law is that of Christopher Drew, an artist who was arrested in December 2009 for selling art without a permit on the streets of Chicago. Drew recorded his arrest, and now faces four to 15 years for documenting the incident.
In a hearing last December, Cook County Assistant State Attorney Jeff Allen invoked homeland security, arguing that Drew's recording could have picked up police discussing anti-terrorism tactics. Drew's case was suspended after he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.
Both Allison and Drew say they won't accept the sort of plea bargain Illinois prosecutors have offered in the past. Both say they're willing to risk prison time to get the law overturned.