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September 1, 2011


Illinois Man Faces 75 Years in Prison for Recording Police

From BoingBoing: “42-year-old Michael Allison of Illinois could spend the rest of his life in prison for recording police in public. He faces five counts of eavesdropping, a class one felony”. That’s the equivalent of rape.

This is absolutely crazy. How law-abiding and tax-paying citizens (who pay for the police) can be harassed for wanting to make on-duty police officers accountable for their actions is beyond understanding. All one has to do is look at the sheer quantity of illegal police behaviour (and more), to see why the free recording of police officers is so absolutely necessary; both for the public’s protection and sometimes the police officers’.

The definition of eavesdropping is “to listen secretly to the private conversation of others”, in this case the police not only knew they were being recorded (edit: allegedly, if recent reports are true, officers were NOT aware they were being recorded, which is what landed Allison in hot water), but it was a conversation between them and Michael Allison. If police officers are allowed to record audio or video of the public with impunity, the public should be allowed to record the police going about their official duties. 75 years for recording on-duty police officers doesn’t even pass the guffaw test for me, a sensible jury will never convict him, if this ever even goes to court – END OF STORY.

[Updated 7/9/11] If recent reports are true, Michael Allison may also have been stupid as well as unlucky. Apparently he covertly recorded court proceedings (which is definitely illegal), and then lied about it to the judge (also illegal), which is how he ended up with all the additional counts of eavesdropping.

Watch the video below for the full story, it’s a great summary.

In a related story where a man was arrested for filming police in Massachusetts, a federal court ruled that videotaping police is an unambiguous and constitutionally protected right.

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  1. We are long time fans & supporters of Alex Jones & Infowars and a local independent newspaper in the Southern Illinois area that covers corruption. We know and have dealt with Michael Allison before, but there is more to the story than Main Stream Media is covering. Here is some of the things that are missing from the coverage….

    “Allison was charged with felony eavesdropping of Robinson Chief Bill Ackman on Nov. 26, 2008 and Officer William Rutan on Dec. 6, 2008, both of these pertaining to what he calls “bogus” ordinance violations issued against him.

    However, the recording of the police ISN’T where it ends, and that ISN’T the most compelling part of the little saga.

    What the Cop Watch people seem to be overlooking are the subsequent felonies Allison incurred after he started going to court on the initial felonies.

    Allison is also charged with recording Crawford County deputy circuit clerk Debbie Phillippe on Dec. 19; a Nancy Ulray and a Craig Weber on Dec. 31, 2008, and finally, the judge in his case as it went to court.

    Allison first appeared in court on the OVs and the felony recording of the officers and court officials January 13, 2009. That hearing was held in front of associate judge Kimbara Harrell. It was just an appearance that was a court formality, and there was nothing substantial toward the case going on: no entering of a plea of guilty or not guilty, no preliminary where testimony was being given for probable cause.

    But Allison wanted a court reporter. And there wasn’t one to be had at the time.

    So (and this is what he personally told me, by phone, in April 2009) he asked the judge if he could provide his own tape recorder to record the hearings; and of course you can imagine her response, which was a big fat NO. There simply aren’t recording devices allowed in courtrooms, and rarely have there been (the exception being some TV cameras if there’s a major trial or hearing and permission is obtained first). And Kim Harrell is “the court.” If she says no, she means no, and unfortunately for some, there doesn’t need to be a reason.

    Harrell then asked Allison if he had a recording device on him. He replied that he did. She asked him if it were running. He said it was not. She went on with the proceedings, reading the eavesdropping law (as it was being applied to him for recording the officers, this according to the court record) and advising him of his charges.

    When he was told by Harrell he was free to go, he went to leave the courtroom, and was stopped by a law enforcement officer, who asked permission to search Allison for tape recording devices, which kind of stood to reason, since he had told the judge that he’d had one with him.

    When the officer conducted a search, he found a running tape recorder, and Allison was in BIG, FAT trouble at that point.

    He was charged with an additional count of recording the judge on that day, all of this coming after an investigation and then being formally filed in April 2009, a total of five felony eavesdropping charges, because not only had he recorded the judge against the law and her wishes, he had also lied to her. He was fortunate he wasn’t charged with something related to the lie.

    And somehow, Cop Watch and everyone else whose ass is up in the air over this seems to be missing this point. …”

    Full local article here:
    MISINFORMATION & DISTRACTION: The REAL story of felony eavesdropping charges in Illinois”

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