Court grants new trial in Michigan; task force calls for recording of interrogations


A Michigan judge yesterday granted a new trial to Claude McCollum, who was convicted two years ago of a rape and assault he says he didn’t commit. The county prosecutor joined with McCollum’s attorney on Friday in asking the court to grant a new trial based on new evidence. The Lansing State Journal is now reporting that a videotape has surfaced that may show McCollum on a different part of the Lansing Community College campus when the assault took place in a classroom.

Attorney Hugh Clarke Jr., who said he is planning to represent McCollum, was pleased with the court's ruling.

"It doesn't surprise me how fast they acted, given the potential injustice inflicted on Mr. McCollum at the hands of the government," he said.

Read the full story here

. (Lansing State Journal, 09/25/07)

McCollum says he told police hypothetically that he could have committed the crime while sleepwalking. This admission contributed to McCollum’s conviction, and only part of the interrogation was recorded. He says he repeatedly denied involvement in the crime, but those statements do not appear on the videotape.

A task force formed by the State Bar of Michigan has called for legislation mandating the recording of interrogations statewide. Although recording of interrogations has been shown to prevent false confessions – a factor in 25 percent of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing – there is currently no Michigan law requiring that law enforcement agencies record any part of any interrogation.

Seven states and the District of Columbia have some statewide requirement for recording of interrogations. Is yours one?

View our map to find out


Learn more about

reforms underway

to require the recording of custodial interrogation and prevent false confessions.

Read more coverage of this case in a

blog post by false confession expert Steve Drizin

at the Center on Wrongful Convictions in Chicago.

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