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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.
View pending legislation related to the recording of custodial interrogations that NACDL is tracking.
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- "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.