State appellate court finds Illinois cyberstalking law unconstitutional

CHICAGO — An Illinois appellate court has ruled that Illinois’ 2008 law on online harassment, or cyberstalking, violates free speech and due process rights.

The ruling involves a conviction of a man for harassing a radio station employee in Chicago. State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, says the bill she co-sponsored addresses a very common type of harassment.

Holmes said the General Assembly should pass new legislation soon, calling it a very real, modern-day problem, and if lawmakers don’t address it in veto session, they should address it as soon as they’re back in session.

She says legislators shouldn’t wait for too much criminal activity, or someone actually getting hurt before they try to address it.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 3.3 million people reported being stalked in the United States in a calendar year. About 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking such as e-mail or instant messaging.