In a case likely to effect many trials involving surveillance testimony, our Appellate Court by JUSTICE (now Supreme Court Justice) THEIS overturned the conviction of Robert Price by finding plain error when the trial court sustained the State’s objections to questions by defense counsel regarding the exact location of the surveillance officer in a common fact pattern case of PCS/W. JUSTICE THEIS finds that, “due process requires at trial the defendant need only show that the location is ‘relevant and helpful to the defense of an accused, or is essential to the fair determination of a cause’ in order to overcome the privilege.”  [ Practice Point ] The court’s discussion of the burdens of proof on this issue seems to call into question the current practice of requiring the defense to file a motion to disclose surveillance location before trial.  Make sure you read this very helpful opinion, People v. Robert Price, No. 1-07-2223 First District, Second Division, 8/31/10.
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  1. Bruce Mosbacher
    Posted October 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Chatting about this very helpful case with some MDD folks today in the MDD hut has convinced me that we should ask for surveillance locations in our form discovery motions or along with them. That would require the State to disclose or take a position otherwise. The burdens would then be on the correct sides.

  2. Dan Walsh
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    bruce, i agree, and, seriously, i think we should just ask for the location and simply cite this case. it’s a great case and with Theis on the Ill. S.Ct. it is great authority.

  3. Chris Anderson
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I have to comment again and thank Justice Theis for finally putting an end to one of the most dangerous and fascist legal theories that had been festering for nearly a decade. The “surveillance privilege” had essentially erased the ability to cross-examine the State’s witnesses about their opportunity to observe, and thereby undermined the most trusted check on perjury and government over-reaching: cross-examination under oath before a jury. I really think, in this single unrecognized opinion, Justice Theis has done more for freedom than millions of others. I wish I could award a medal.

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