A federal court in Cleveland is hearing corruption charges against former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora. TV cameras are not allowed in the courtroom. Nevertheless a local TV station is broadcasting trial excerpts–by having puppets recite actual testimony. Brilliant idea. I’d like to see the Republican debates in the same format.
Twelve states have two-party consent eavesdropping laws, meaning both parties to a recorded conversation must consent to its recording. Nine of those states except recordings of police in public from the two-party consent requirements. Three do not: Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. According to this article the Maryland Attorney General has said those who record police in public will not be prosecuted. Illinois, on the other hand, is currently prosecuting nine people, including artist Chris Drew, for recording audio of on-duty police in public. Drew sells silk-screen patches on the street and, following run-ins with police for violating street vending laws, he prepared to challenge those laws on First Amendment grounds. The next time the police came to roust him he recorded the arrest. The state charged him with violating the Illinois Eavesdropping Act–a felony with a 15 year maximum term–not with unlawfully selling his art. His trial is scheduled for April 4.
What about police recording traffic stops, arrests, and other aspects of their jobs? “The Chicago Police . . . have been expanding their recordings of ordinary civilians, with blue-light cameras, cameras in patrol cars, and the like. The justification for these recordings is that what happens in public is public, and there should be no expectation of privacy.” What happens in public is public, and there should be no expectation of privacy. Unfortunately hypocrisy is not also a felony in Illinois.
Some law students know why they are there. I corresponded this week with a former student, now a 2L, who has known she wanted to be a lawyer since she was five. (I don’t know how one makes that decision at the age of five but I believe her when she tells me that’s how it was.) As much as one can, she knows what is ahead. She gave me permission to quote from her email:
I was born to be a lawyer. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, all I’ve ever hoped for, all I’ve worked towards. I’ve always been sure, but as I continue on my journey I’m more and more convinced that it’s what I was meant to do-my purpose here on Earth. And that purpose has nothing to do with Corporate Law. I went to law school to be a criminal defense attorney, and that’s what I intend to stick with. Corporate America doesn’t need me. I’m needed else where. I believe that I can affect change, make a difference, even if small, doing criminal defense; that is where I’ll thrive . . . So I’m not worried about the hoopla with corporate jobs . . . I may be in the minority among a lot of my peers in school, but I’m happy with my position and I came to terms with it because there was a time when I felt the pull to consider corporate law. You have career counselors pushing you in that direction-to even just try it. You see all the money you’re amassing for your law degree and cringe that you’ll be paying it back for what seems like forever. But during the summer I decided to go with what I truly wanted to do. And it becomes difficult and annoying explaining your decision to people. Everyone expects you to go after corporate law-make the big bucks, work at the prestigious corporations. When I tell them that that’s not my path, its like why?
I’m confident she’ll get where she wants to be.