Friday, March 2, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Annabel Melongo reacts to today's ruling by a Cook County judge declaring IL eavesdropping law unconstitutional

Annabel K. Melongo

From today's Chicago Sun-Times:
A Cook County Judge declared the state’s eavesdropping law unconstitutional Friday.

Judge Stanley J. Sacks read his ruling in the case of Christopher Drew, a Chicago artist who was charged with felony eavesdropping after he recorded his Dec. 2, 2009, arrest on State Street by Chicago Police.
“The Illinois Eavesdropping Statute potentially punishes as a felony a wide array of wholly innocent conduct,” he read. “A parent making an audio recording of their child’s soccer game, but in doing so happens to record nearby conversations, would be in violation of the Eavesdropping Statute.”
Prosecutors now may appeal the judge’s ruling directly to the state’s Supreme Court.
Present in court today was Annabel Melongo.

As first reported by The Sidebar, in October Melongo was released from Cook Cook County jail after being incarcerated for 18 months and held on a $300,000 bond.

Her crime?

According to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, Melongo recorded some routine phone conversations with a Cook County Clerk of Courts, then uploaded audios and transcripts of the calls* to the Internet. (As a result of Judge Steven J. Goebel granting her motion, Melongo's now living with a friend under house arrest and wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.)

This afternoon Melongo sent out the following e-mail. (Regarding any minor grammatical errors, Melongo was born in Cameroon. Her first language is French, her second is German, and her third is English.)
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2012
From: Annabel Melongo <>
Subject: Illinois Eavesdropping Law Unconstitutional In Cook County
Dear All,

Just to inform you that Judge Sacks, Christopher Drew's Judge, has just declared the Illinois Eavesdropping Law Unconstitutional in Cook County. Which ruling undoubtedly has repercussions in my case when I argue it on March 15th, 2012.
Seating in that courtroom, I had tears in my eyes when I heard this. I can't believe the end is almost near. I'm sending you this email from the courthouse, which shows what today's ruling means for me. You'll hear all of this in the hours or days to come, I just wanted you to have the news first, given your engagement, in one way or other, to my case. 

Thanks a lot.

* The transcripts of the calls were included as exhibits in a November 30, 2011 defense motion. From court records, here they are: