Ridiculous. The charges were dropped, but not until the arrested man was put through hell by the bullies in blue:
“I’m just an ordinary citizen. I was on my way to the movies, and all of a sudden I’m facing a felony and 15 years in prison,” Frobe told ABC7. Frobe calls it the worst experience of his life. He was on his way to a late evening movie on an August night last year when he was stopped for speeding in far north suburban Lindenhurst. He didn’t believe he was in a 35-mile-an-hour zone, and he figured if he was going to get ticket he wanted to be able to document his challenge with video evidence, so he got out his flip camera, which he was not very adept at using. At one point he held it out the window trying to record where he was. When the officer, being recorded on his squad dash cam, walked back to Frobe’s car, the officer saw Frobe’s camera.
Officer: “That recording?
Frobe : “Yes, Yes, I’ve been…
Officer: “Was it recording all of our conversation?
Officer: “Guess what? You were eavesdropping on our conversation. I did not give you permission to do so. Step out of the vehicle.
Louis Frobe was then cuffed and arrested for felony eavesdropping. “I was terrified. I was absolutely terrified. I was begging him, I said I didn’t know about this law. Would you please take the camera – this is no big deal – and smash it. You know I didn’t know about the law,” Frobe told ABC7. Frobe spent a night in the Lake County jail and was released on bond the next day. Later the charges against him were dropped, but so angry was Louis Frobe that he decided to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s eavesdropping law. “And they had audio and they had video on me, but I’m not allowed to do it to them. I’m in a private car on a public street and it’s a public official. Why shouldn’t I be able to record what’s going on to prove my innocence?” he said.
A couple of weeks ago, in another case, an Illinois judge ruled that the law behind these arrests is unconstitutional.
Michael Allison, an Illinois man who faced a potential sentence of 75 years in prison for recording police officers and attempting to tape his own trial, caught a break last week when a state judge declared the charges unconstitutional. "A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties," wrote Circuit Court Judge David Frankland. "Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information."