American Civil Liberties Union lawyers were audio recording Chicago police officers while they were performing their duties in public as part of an effort to monitor policing practices in that city.
Enter another group of lawyers from the Cook County State's Attorney who wanted block the ACLU lawyers and the public, in general, from audio recording cops doing their jobs.
The cops were speaking loud enough to be heard by a passerby, according to the ACLU.
But the state lawyers said it is eavesdropping on cops and against Illinois state law.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit blocked the
Cook County attorneys from prosecuting ACLU staff for audio recording Chicago
cops as part of its advocacy for changes in police practices in that city.
The State Attorney barristers appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the high court refused to hear the case and let the federal appeals court ruling stand.
Two Illinois state court judges have ruled that the application of the law to prosecute people for recording police in a public place is unconstitutional, according to the ACLU.
The ACLU also noted that a Cook County jury last year acquitted a young woman who was charged with the eavesdropping offense.
Harvey Grossman, Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois stated that nation's high court decision not to review the case will have a ripple effect throughout the state of Illinois.
"We are hopeful that we are moving closer to a day when no one in Illinois will risk prosecution when they audio record public officials performing their duties. Empowering individuals and organizations in this fashion will ensure additional transparency and oversight of public officials across the State," Grossman stated.