Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Video of yesterday's oral arguments before the IL Supreme Court re: the Melongo eavesdropping case -- any legal eagles out there want to comment?

Via an article by reporter Jack Bouboushian in yesterday's Courthouse News Service:
The (Illinois Supreme Court) is considering the constitutionality of the (IL eavesdropping) law after a woman prosecuted under it was incarcerated for over 18 months before her trial ended with a hung jury.

Annabel Melongo was once an employee of the Save-A-Life Foundation, an Illinois charity that has been accused of dishonesty or financial impropriety. After secretly recording her phone conversations with a Cook County court reporter and posting those tapes on a personal website, she was charged in 2010 with violating the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, a law that requires a person to obtain the consent of anyone whose conversation he records.

A judge ultimately found for Melonga in her civil suit against the state, leading the Illinois Supreme Court to hold oral arguments today on the state's appeal.
...The ACLU of Illinois came down in an amicus brief squarely on the side of Melongo, who filed her brief with the high court on Dec. 6.

...An opening and reply brief are also available from Illinois. Melongo meanwhile is also suing the state in federal court for violations of her civil rights.
(First reported by The Sidebar, click here for a copy of Melongo's federal lawsuit.)

The Supreme Court's website posted video and audio versions of yesterday's hearing.

Here's a copy of the video I found on YouTube (with some minimal added graphic identifiers). It begins with Cook County Assistant State's Attorney's Alan Spellberg presenting the state's case. At time stamp 18:30, attorney Gabriel Plotkin of the Chicago law firm Miller Shakman and Beem LLP presents his argument on behalf of Ms. Melongo.

From an unsigned e-mail I received this morning identified only as originating from "Team Melongo":
The courtroom was so packed that some people had to watch the hearing in a screen at an adjacent room.
What's next? This morning I asked Gabriel Plotkin, who responded:
The next step is to wait for a written opinion from the Supreme Court. That will certainly take weeks, and likely months.
Any attorneys or legal experts out there want to share your thoughts for possible publication, signed or unsigned?

If so, feel free to e-mail me.