Saturday, January 19, 2013

NY trial lawyers promote videotaping of all interviews with suspects

This reform is one of the most important ways of preventing police and prosecutor abuse but has been very spottily implemented. In some jurisdictions it has been in place for decades and there is no excuse for inaction over it

In November, the State Bar included the prevention of wrongful convictions on our slate of top legislative priorities for 2013. One measure that would prevent wrongful convictions is mandatory videotaping of custodial interrogations. Videotaping interrogations would help secure the conviction of guilty individuals while preventing the wrongful conviction of the innocent. Opponents of mandatory recording contend that voluntary participation by law enforcement would be sufficient to prevent wrongful convictions, but unfortunately, voluntary use of videotaped interrogations is inconsistent throughout the state and is not currently utilized in many counties.

The New York State Bar Association has advocated for mandatory recording of interrogations since 2004, and we have sponsored and monitored successful pilot programs in a number of counties. Mandatory videotaping is a key component of the wrongful conviction package we have been advancing in recent years, and we were pleased that the Assembly passed a bill last year that would require videotaping interrogations. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly's recent decision to voluntarily record interrogations for some serious crimes, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's pledge to support it with public money, represent significant progress. After their announcement, in a Letter to the Editor published in the New York Times, we once again called on the governor and the legislature to mandate the practice by law.

Original report here

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