Under Illinois law, any person who “knowingly and intentionally uses an eavesdropping device for the purpose of hearing or recording all or any part of any conversation” is committing a crime “unless he does so … with the consent of all of the parties to such conversation or electronic communication.” This isn’t limited to conversations that the parties reasonably intend to be private: “conversation” is defined as as “any oral communication between 2 or more persons regardless of whether one or more of the parties intended their communication to be of a private nature under circumstances justifying that expectation.”It is appalling that anyone could think that there was anything wrong with a dad wanting to keep a record of a court proceeding against him.
DeForest Clark was indicted for violating this law; here’s how the ACLU of Illinois amicus brief describes the facts:[The] charges arose from a September 17, 2010 child support hearing before Judge Robert Janes in Kane County Circuit Court. Mr. Clark represented himself pro se at the hearing. The hearing was conducted in open court and no court reporter was present. Mr. Clark recorded the hearing in order to preserve a true and accurate record of public proceedings in which he was representing himself without the assistance of counsel and without the benefit of a court reporter. For the same reason, Mr. Clark also allegedly recorded a conversation between himself and opposing counsel, Colleen Thomas, prior to the hearing in a public hallway in the Kane County Judicial Center.Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the statute violates the First Amendment (People v. Clark (Ill. Mar. 20, 2014)).
I do not know whether California has this exception:
Note, by the way, that the Illinois statute does have one narrow but important exception: “Recording of a conversation made by or at the request of a person … who is a party to the conversation, under reasonable suspicion that another party to the conversation is committing, is about to commit, or has committed a criminal offense against the person or a member of his or her immediate household, and there is reason to believe that evidence of the criminal offense may be obtained by the recording.” That at least helps people gather evidence that they need to protect themselves against extortion, threats, false accusations, and other crime — a very valuable exception, it seems to me.That is another case where recording should be obviously justified.