Connecticut is set to join several other states considering videotaping interrogations. Only four states thus far require it (AK, MN, ME and DC). The appropriations committee has set aside 100K a year for ’08 and ’09 to test it out. Videotaping of interrogations has become increasingly important what with the explosion of false confession claims over recent years.
“Electronic recording of interrogations will assure protections to the innocent,” said Amanda Melpolder, a policy advocate for the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate 198 people since it was established in 1992.”Less than ideal interrogation procedures have contributed to or been the main factor in nearly one in five wrongful convictions of individuals later exonerated through DNA evidence,” Melpolder said. “In each of these cases, the true perpetrator remained at large. … The mandatory recording of interrogations is a reform whose time has come.”
Of course, not all agree, especially law enforcement. Their main concern is that it will “hinder the investigators’ interview techniques”. As opposed to ensuring there are no false confessions.
Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III said in his testimony for a recent legislative hearing on the matter. “Defense attorneys may use the tape in an attempt to divert the focus of the jury’s attention in a criminal trial from the accused to criticism of an investigator’s interrogation techniques.”
Good job by the legislature and I hope the pilot program will convince them that this needs to become law in Connecticut.