News 07.17.13

New York State to Spend $1M to Expand Video Interrogations

The New York Division of Criminal Justice Services is making $1 million available to help police agencies across the state expand and improve the use of video equipment for recording interrogations, reported the Associated Press. The funds will allow for the purchase and installation of video recording equipment for police departments and sheriffs’ offices and make upgrades to older equipment possible.
The electronic recording of interrogations is the single best reform available to stem the tide of false confessions. According to New York criminal justice officials, 345 agencies in 58 of the state’s 62 counties currently videotape at least some interrogations. For law enforcement agencies, recording interrogations can prevent disputes about how a suspect was treated, create a clear record of a suspect’s statements and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system. Recording interrogations can also deter officers from using illegal tactics to secure a confession.
A law that would have mandated recording custodial interrogations in every police department statewide failed this session despite the support of Governor Cuomo. New York State has been slow to pass this and other criminal justice reforms that would help prevent wrongful convictions. Twelve people have been exonerated through DNA testing in the state after a false confession led to their wrongful conviction.
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