Second District Appellate Court Suppresses Wiretaps, Finding Widespread Insufficiency With Requests Made by Assistant State’s Attorneys.

This case is absolutely a must read if you’re dealing with recordings as a result of wiretaps in a Illinois State court prosecution. It’s also worth reading if you’re in another jurisdiction given the scope of the improper prosecution practice at hand.

Here, there was a joint federal and State investigation into gang narcotics trafficking in Lake County, Illinois. This lead to wiretap applications for cell phone communications. Assistant State’s Attorneys went in and made these applications, and the judges signed them. This led to a number of people being indicted for various gang and narcotics trafficking offenses.

Consolidated motions to suppress were heard by the trial court, who suppressed all of the wiretaps because federal law and State law do not authorize an ASA to apply for a wiretap order.

The court held that the applications for the wiretap orders did not comply with article 108B, because they were not
personally authorized by the elected State’s Attorney and that, even if the applications complied with the state
statute, they violated Title III.

The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s suppression order, citing cases from a number of State and federal jurisdictions on this issue, concluding that all of the wiretaps were improper.

the appellate court also rejected the State’s good faith exception argument, finding that it was forfeited, and alternatively, inapplicable because the good faith exception does not apply when law enforcement is the one perpetrating the constitutional violation.

The State is clearly afraid of the implications of this ruling, as they pleaded with the appellate court to find that this decision is not retroactive to other cases, an issue the court declined to take up at this time.

The case is People v. James Allard, et al.; 2018 IL App (2d) 160927.

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