Very Important IL Supreme Court decision for the civil rights of IL individuals

Posted: January 14, 2012 by mikethemouth in Local Issues, Police Misconduct, The Causes of Wrongful Convictions

Video technology is now commonplace in it’s use by individuals as well as the government. Video and the internet played a major role in communicating the civil unrest in many societies this past year and basically proved impossible to suppress.The government and law enforcement has used video for years but, in Illinois, the police have selectively attempted to avoid either using it or else making recorded video available to defendants when it could possibly embarrass them. There was a pilot program  launched several years ago to require police to videotape all custodial interrogations of suspects. It was supposed to extend statewide, but pockets of local resistance to videotaping remain in Illinois law enforcement. In Winnebago County, for example, the Rockford Police state that it is now their policy to videotape all homicide interrogations, yet videotaping does not seem to be a consistent practice. Nationwide, video has been embraced by law enforcement as a means to ensure police compliance with industry standards and police departments adopting video; while skeptical of it at the outset, have come to generally find it helpful to show they are operating properly.

Illinois is the most restrictive state when it comes to the rights of it’s individuals to record the actions of law enforcement and governmental officials in the course of their duties. Most citizens are unaware that they can be criminally prosecuted by the State for recording events as they feel necessary. So, it is only fair turn-around that the authorities (who record the most) be required to release video to defendants during legal discovery. This IL Supreme Court decision is vital support for the civil rights of individuals in IL who are arrested or ticketed during traffic stops because the court is acknowledging for the first time just how commonplace videotaping is, and that the public is entitled to receive this information. This is an important start to ensuring that individuals are only prosecuted or fined when the circumstances justify it. The court is opening the door to it’s perspective being extended to many other situations where the public is subject to legal recordings.

 

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