Indiana Court Orders Recording of Interrogations


The Indiana Supreme Court yesterday issued a new rule requiring law enforcement agencies to record suspect interrogations starting in 2011. The court ruled 3-2 in favor of the change, which will only allow evidence gathered in interrogations to be entered in a courtroom if the interrogation was recorded.

The move makes Indiana the 17th state to require the recording of interrogations in at least some crimes. The court explained the reasoning for the new rule in a statement:

"The rule change is aimed at helping police, prosecutors, courts and juries in their search for truth, justice, and due process of law. A complete audio-video recording, which captures the voice, facial expressions and body language of the suspect and interrogator, can be a valuable tool for law enforcement, courts, and citizens.

"The electronic recording can provide strong evidence of guilt, confirm police gave suspects all required warnings, and ultimately lead to more guilty pleas," the statement said. "The recordings are also likely to lessen factual disputes in court and reduce the number of motions to suppress evidence."

Several cities and counties in Indiana already record interrogations, but others will have nearly two years to equip their facilities to begin recording. Indiana State Rep. Matt Pierce said the rule change is a positive step for the state’s criminal justice system.

"It gives a clear, objective record of how the interrogation went," he said. "If the police officer was out of line, you are going to see that. And you will also see when the officer did nothing wrong."

Read the full story here

. (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 9/16/09)

The Innocence Project strongly recommends that states require electronic recording of interrogations; as the practice aids law enforcement by creating a clear record of proceedings and can prevent false confessions and admissions that lead to wrongful convictions.

Read more about the Innocence Project’s stance on recording of interrogations here


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