Monday, August 29, 2011

Hearing must be shot (or the case was not called)

I trotted over to the courthouse this morning for the jury trial of Alexander Henson at 10:00AM in Judge Prather's courtroom. I got to her courtroom before 10:00AM and sat through many short matters before the bench and one long recess. When the second recess was called, I approached the clerk to inquire when Henson's trial would start.

Imagine my surprise when she informed me that it was continued to September 12!

How did that happen? I was pretty sure I had heard every name called, because Judge Prather calls cases in a loud voice. Then, as in many courtrooms, voices drop precipitously to a barely audible level.

I would like to thank the bailiff for quieting the many attorneys who engaged in conversations while the court was in session. He even went to the vestibule to quiet down the loud voices of attorneys out there. Of course, their voices could be heard when the door opened, but some could be heard in the courtroom even with that door closed.

Henson's case is the eavesdropping one, where he is accused of illegally recording the McHenry Police with his cell phone. The Northwest Herald weighed in with "Our View" on September 4, 2010.

We're not talking about surreptitious recording in the case. The cops knew they were being recorded and told Henson to stop recording.

This felony law in Illinois is definitely against the public interest and should be repealed.

So, the question is ... In general, if I tell you I am recording you and you tell me to stop, do I have to stop recording you or should you stop talking to me? Note: I said, "in general".

When a cop tells you to do something, the time to argue about whether his instruction is legal is probably not right then. If you don't want a huge, expensive headache like Henson has, comply with the cop's direction. You can argue about it later with the police chief, the city administration, the city council or a judge.

I'm anxious to learn when this case was continued. Was it after the 10:00AM announced court time, or did he get continued prior to 10:00AM. If so, you can count on another article.


Ray said...

The right to record the police.

Gus said...

Ray, THANK YOU. This is worth a new article, which I'll write today.