News 11.20.13

New York State Funds Equipment for Recording Interrogations

On Monday, New York State gave $700,000 to police agencies across the state to help increase their capacity to videotape interrogations, the single best reform available to stem the tide of false confessions.

 

The

Times Herald-Record

reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York on Monday when he noted that video recording of police interrogations “ ‘helps prevent wrongful convictions and at the same time, protects investigators from false allegations.’ ”

 

The electronic recording of interrogations, from the reading of Miranda rights onward, will improve the credibility and reliability of authentic confessions, while protecting the rights of innocent suspects. This is a reform the New York State Defenders Association and the Innocence Project have long supported.

 

Orange County, which is comprised of 36 police agencies, was among the recipients to receive funding, getting a lump sum of $41,150. According to its District Attorney Frank Philips, most of the agencies already have recording capabilities courtesy of state money that started coming in 2006.

 

“ ‘We started initially with the most active police agencies,’ Phillips said. The county’s first cameras were installed at the state police barracks in Middletown, Monroe and Newburgh (now the Montgomery barracks); in the three cities, Newburgh, Middletown and Port Jervis; and in the towns of Newburgh and New Windsor. Now there is at least one recording setup in every town in the county. ‘There was no resistance whatsoever,’ Phillips said. ‘I think it’s a great program.’ ”

 

Orange County requires departments to videotape statements in all homicide cases as well as some felonies.

 

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