Why would someone confess to a crime they didn't commit? The Innocence Project states more than 1 out of 4 people wrongfully convicted but later exonerated by DNA evidence made a false confession or incriminating statement. This can be due to real or perceived intimidation, threat or use of force from law enforcement; the use of deceitful interrogation techniques; or compromised reasoning ability by the accused. A videotape recording of a statement from start to finish of an arrest interrogation and subsequent confession provides the most objective means for evaluating what occurred during an interrogation.
On May 12, 2014, the Department of Justice outlined new policies relative to electronic recording. NACDL previously issued correspondence to DOJ encouraging the electronic recording during custodial interrogations. While we cannot be sure that NACDL's letter was the catalyst for the new policies, the new policy is a significant step forward for DOJ and sends an important message to other jurisdictions that do not currently record. Please see NACDL's letter to the Department of Justice and the memo detailing the policy.
NACDL is pleased to host a comprehensive compendium of jurisdictions that have enacted statutes or rules on electronic recording. This compendium was compiled by Tom Sullivan, NACDL Member and Partner with Jenner & Block. We hope this information is useful to you as you seek reform efforts in your jurisdictions.
In 2022, both Maryland and Vermont enacted legislation expanding requirements around the recording of interrogations of children. Consider joining NACDL’s State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) to exchange information, share resources, and develop effective strategies for promoting the recording of interrogations and enacting other pressing reforms.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
- "The Baltimore exonerees’ cases shed light on the need for reforming youth interrogations,"
- "Opinion: Videotape All Police Interrogations,"
- "Ohio Bill Seeks To Require Recording Of Interrogations,"
Recording Interrogations News Releases
News Release ~ 05/21/2014
Department of Justice Announces New Policy Concerning the Recording of Custodial Interrogations-- Washington, DC (May 21, 2014) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is greatly encouraged by the new DOJ policy, announced last week and effective July 11, 2014, creating a presumption in favor of recording custodial interrogations.