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The case for videotaping interrogations

 
 
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 01:31 am
The case for videotaping interrogations
A suspect's false confession to a murder opened an officer's eyes.


Quote:
I've been a police officer for 25 years, and I never understood why someone would admit to a crime he or she didn't commit. Until I secured a false confession in a murder case.

I stepped into the interrogation room believing that we had evidence linking the suspect to the murder of a 34-year-old federal employee in Washington. I used standard, approved interrogation techniques -- no screaming or threats, no physical abuse, no 12-hour sessions without food or water. Many hours later, I left with a solid confession.

At first, the suspect couldn't tell us anything about the murder, and she professed her innocence. As the interrogation progressed, she became more cooperative, and her confession included many details of the crime. The suspect said she had beaten the man to death and dumped his body by a river. She said she made purchases with the victim's credit card and tried to withdraw cash using his ATM card. Surveillance video from the ATM showed a woman who resembled the suspect, and an expert said the signature on the credit card receipts was consistent with the suspect's handwriting.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 02:39 am
@Robert Gentel,
They are video-taped here.

And in the UK I believe.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 07:31 am
@dlowan,
They're videotaped in Illinois -- it was one of Obama's big accomplishments there (making it happen). I don't know beyond that though. Seems to be a state-by-state thing.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 07:34 am
@sozobe,
OK, here we go (from the article):

Quote:
More than 500 jurisdictions nationwide record interrogations, but only 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, mandate the practice. California's Legislature passed bills in 2006 and 2007 that would have required interrogations to be recorded. Both were vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A third bill died in committee this year. California legislators should not give up. They must make this issue a priority and pass legislation to make our criminal justice system stronger and more accurate.
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BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2008 05:46 am
@Robert Gentel,
It is very unlikely that at the age of 59 I will find myself looking at a unfriendly police interogation for the first time but if so I will lawyer up right away.

Far too many people had talk themselves into a prison sentence, and with many state and the federal governments making it a crime to lied to the police, it is even more important to not talk to the police under unfriendly conditions.

I love it when someone who could not be send to prison for the underlining misdeeds they did but instead find themself serving time for untruths they told in the heat of an interrogation room. Marta Steward is the first person who come to mind in this regard.
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Oct, 2008 06:11 am
@BillRM,
Quote:
It is very unlikely that at the age of 59 I will find myself looking at a unfriendly police interogation for the first time but if so I will lawyer up right away.


So, your statute of limitations is almost up, or you can't be interrogated for the first time now because that's already happened? Wink

Can't think of a good reason that interrogations shouldn't be recorded, myself, depending on how the video is to be used. I wouldn't be into having edited portions of interrogations admitted as evidence, for instance. If it's going to be used at trial, I'd want the jury to havre to watch all of the tape. I can imagine that looking at fragments of tape outside of the larger context might be used to mislead...
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