Updated: November 27, 2012 10:01AM
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s plea to allow enforcement of a law aimed at stopping people from recording police officers on the job.
The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that found that the state’s anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers. The law sets out a maximum prison term of 15 years.
Opponents of the law say the right to record police is vital to guard against abuses.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Alvarez to block prosecution of ACLU staff for recording police officers performing their duties in public places. It’s one of the group’s long-standing monitoring missions.
In a statement from the State’s Attorney’s office, spokewoman Sally Daly said: “We had hoped that the High Court would accept this case for review in order to provide prosecutors across Illinois with legal clarification and guidance with respect to the constitutionality and enforcement of the Illinois Eavesdropping Act. However, we respect and accept the Court’s decision in this matter and we are continuing to review all legal options as the case proceeds in U.S. District Court.”
Contributing: Lisa Donovan