An editorial in Tuesday’s
New York Times
called New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s announcement to begin video recording criminal interrogations a smart step for justice but urged state lawmakers to go further to prevent wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project and the New York State Justice Task Force, created by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmann, have urged the state to adopt comprehensive criminal justice reforms, including a statewide policy mandating recording interrogations and also improvements to police lineup procedures to reduce the rate of eyewitness misidentification. The
New York Times
Earlier this year, the New York State Legislature unwisely rejected legislation backed by Mr. Lippman to require videotaping of interrogations in serious cases across the state. Mr. Kelly’s move, laudable though it is, is no substitute for enacting uniform and enforceable statewide standards mandating videotaped interrogations and also fixing skewed lineup procedures, another major cause of wrongful convictions.
As an expansion of the NYPD’s 2010 pilot program, every precinct in the city will now record entire interrogations in murder, assault and sexual assault cases. Across the state, more than two-thirds of police departments require officers to tape interrogations, according to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services.
New York State, Texas and Illinois lead the nation in wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing.
Read about how
mandatory recording of interrogations can help prevent wrongful convictions based on false confessions