News 02.11.08

NY county plans to record police interrogations

Suffolk County, the western part of New York’s Long Island, will begin recording police interrogations in homicide investigations as soon as this spring, officials announced this week. District Attorney Thomas Spota said he was inspired to work toward this reform because jurors frequently ask to see videotapes of interrogations. Homicide investigations in the county have been under fire for at least two decades. In 1989, a study found that Suffolk detectives had a confession rate in murder investigations.

The news was welcomed by the Innocence Project and supporters of Marty Tankleff, the Suffolk County man who was wrongfully convicted of killing his parents in 1990 after falsely confessing to involvement in the crime.

Officials in Nassau County (eastern Long Island) are also considering a change to record interrogations, and more than 500 jurisdictions around the country have found that recording policies have improved investigations and juror confidence and have helped prevent wrongful convictions.

"I just think that this is the natural evolution of the interrogation process," said (Suffolk County DA Thomas) Spota, who expects to have the new process in place by the end of the year. "And quite frankly, I'm aware that it will increase the public's confidence … in the integrity of the police's interrogations and their tactics."


Read the full story here

. (Newsday, 2/7/08)

Tankleff’s case was recently featured on CBS’ 48 Hours Mystery.

Watch the episode online here

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Nassau County men

John Kogut, John Restivo and Dennis Halstead

were exonerated in 2005 after they served more than 15 years in prison for a murder none of them committed. They were convicted after Kogut gave a false confession following an 18-hours interrogation.


Read more about reforms proposed by the Innocence Project to prevent false confessions nationwide

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