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3/20/14 IL Supreme Court decision upholding lower court's ruling that IL Eavesdropping Act is unconstitutionalf (IL v. Annabel Melongo), Docket No. 114852

3/20/14 IL Supreme Court decision upholding lower court's ruling that IL Eavesdropping Act is unconstitutionalf (IL v. Annabel Melongo), Docket No. 114852

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Published by: Peter M. Heimlich on Mar 20, 2014
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03/20/2014

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SUPREMECOURTCLERK
MAR
2 4
FILED
~3Forthefollowingreasons,weaffirmthejudgmentofthecircuitcourt.~2WeallowedtheAmericanCivilLibertiesUnionofIllinoistofileabrief
amicuscuriae
pursuanttoSupremeCourtRule345.III.S.Ct.R.345 eff.Sept.20,2010 .~1DefendantAnnabelMelongowaschargedwithviolationsofsection14-2oftheCriminalCodeof1961 720ILCS5/14-2 West2008»,whichdefinestheoffenseofeavesdropping.ThecircuitcourtofCookCountyfoundthestatuteunconstitutional.Thus,appealliesdirectlytothiscourt.III.S.Ct.R.302 eff.Oct.4,2011 .
OPINION
JusticesFreeman,Thomas,Kilbride,Karmeier,Burke,andTheisconcurredinthejudgmentandopinion.CHIEFJUSTICEGARMANdeliveredthejudgmentofthecourt,withopinion.
OpinionfiledMarch20 2014
DocketNo.114852 THEPEOPLEOFTHESTATEOFlLLlNOIS,Appellant,v.ANNABELMELONGO,Appellee.
 INTHESUPREMECOURTOFTHESTATEOFILLINOIS
2 14IL114852
 
-2-~lOInhermotiontoreconsider,defendantarguedthatTaylorwasapartytoacriminalconspiracyand,thus,thestatutoryexceptionshouldbeavailabletoherattrial.Thetrialcourtdeniedhermotiontoreconsider.~9TheStatearguedthattheexceptiondidnotapplyinthiscasebecausethecourtreporterwhomdefendantaccusedofcreatingaforgedtranscriptwasnotapartytotherecordedconversations.Thus,theStateasserted,defendantshouldnotbeallowedtoclaimthattheexceptionofsection14-3(i)appliedtoherrecordingsofTaylor.ThetrialcourtgrantedtheState smotion
 nl m n
toprecludedefendantfromraisingthisdefenseattrial.~8Inamotiontodismiss,shestipulatedthatsherecordedtheconversationsandpostedthemonherwebsite,butclaimedherconductwaspermittedunderanexceptiontothestatute.Specifically,sheclaimedshewasallowedtorecordaconversation underreasonablesuspicionthatanotherpartytotheconversationiscommitting,isabouttocommit,orhascommittedacriminaloffenseagainsttheperson
 
andthereisreasontobelievethatevidenceofthecriminaloffensemaybeobtainedbytherecording. 720ILCS5/I4-3(i)(West2008).~7DefendantsurreptitiouslyrecordedthreesubsequenttelephoneconversationswithTaylorandpostedtherecordingsandtranscriptsoftheconversationsonherwebsite.Shewaschargedwiththreecountsofeavesdropping(720ILCS5/14-2(a)(1)(West2008»,andthreecountsofusingordivulginginformationobtainedthroughtheuseofaneavesdroppingdevice(720ILCS5/14-2(a)(3)(West2008».~6DefendantlaterobtainedanofficialcourttranscriptoftheJune18,2008,proceeding,whichstatedthatshewaspresentandwasarraignedonthatdate.Hereffortstohavethecourtreporterchangethetranscriptwereunsuccessful.Thecourtreporterreferreddefendanttohersupervisor,PamelaTaylor,theAssistantAdministratoroftheCookCountyCourtReporter sOffice,CriminalDivision.Intheirfirsttelephoneconversation,Taylorexplainedtodefendantthatanydisputeovertheaccuracyofatranscriptshouldbepresentedtothejudgeforresolution.~5Defendantwaschargedwithcomputertamperinginanunrelatedcase.ThearraignmentwassetforJune18,2008.Thedocketsheet,thejudge shalfsheet,andthecourtcallsheetforthatdateindicatethatdefendantwasnotincourtandthatthearraignmentdidnottakeplace.~4BACKGROUND
 
 
-3-(1)Knowinglyandintentionallyusesaneavesdroppingdeviceforthepurposeofhearingorrecordingalloranypartofanyconversationorintercepts,retains,ortranscribeselectroniccommunicationunlesshedoesso(A)withtheconsentofallofthepartiestosuchconversationorelectroniccommunicationor
 8
inaccordancewithArticle108AorArticle (a)Apersoncommitseavesdroppingwhenhe:~16Section14-2oftheCriminalCodeprovidesthat:~15ANALYSISAfterahearingonthemotion,thecourtfoundthestatutebothfaciallyunconstitutionalandunconstitutionalasappliedtodefendant.Thecourt ssubsequentwrittenorderstatedthat thestatuteappearstobevague,restrictiveandmakesinnocentconductsubjecttoprosecution. Further,thecourtobserved,thestatute lacksaculpablementalstate,subjectswhollyinnocentconducttoprosecution,andviolatessubstantivedueprocess underboththeUnitedStatesandIllinoisConstitutions.Inreachingthisdecision,thecircuitcourtreliedinparton
 mericanCivilLibertiesUnion
 
lvarez
679F.3d583(7thCir.2012)(findingthatplaintiffhadastronglikelihoodofsuccessinitsfirstamendmentclaimthattheIllinoiseavesdroppingstatutewasunconstitutionalasappliedtoitsplantorecordpoliceofficersperformingtheirdutiesinpublicplaces).Thereafter,defendantfileda
prose
motiontodeclarethestatuteunconstitutional,raisingfirstamendmentanddueprocessclaims.TheStatefiledaresponsearguingthatthestatutedoesnotviolateeitherthefirstamendmentordueprocessandthatitisconstitutionalasappliedtodefendant.Thematterproceededtotrial.Thejurywasunabletoreachaunanimousverdict,andthecourtdeclaredamistrial.Thematterwasassignedtoasecondjudge.DefendantthenfiledamotiontodismissonthebasisthattheeavesdroppingstatuteisunconstitutionalunderthedueprocessclausesofboththeIllinoisandUnitedStatesConstitutionsbecausethereis norationalrelationshipbetweenrequiringtwopartyconsentandalegitimatestateinterest. Twodayslater,thismotionwasarguedanddenied.
~14
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