Mandating videotaping of interrogations
“There are pros and cons from every angle,” Newman said, comparing the suggested interrogation recordings to the installation of recording equipment in Texas police cars, which began in 2001 with the federal End Racial Profiling Act.The recordings could protect police officers from charges of wrongdoing, particularly racial profiling, but they could also document mistakes that could be used against officers in court.He added that when juries see a debate between defendants and police officers over what occurred during an unrecorded interrogation, police “tend to be more believable.” “You have to trust what the police officer says,” said Brian Stull, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents death row inmates.Without recordings, he said, even well-intentioned police officers may forget exactly what happened during an interrogation and give incomplete information to a jury.Police cars already have recording equipment for routine traffic stops, she said, so “why can't the police record this information? "They think, 'Well, I would never falsely confess to something I didn't do.’ But we know from DNA exonerations that this simply is not true." She was surprised when several law enforcement and prosecution groups in 2011 testified against requiring recordings.Mark Clark, executive director of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, testified against the 2011 bill and said his organization still opposes the requirement.To comment, you must be a registered user of the Tribune, and your real name will be displayed.
That’s troubling to some prosecutors.” In a debate over a similar bill in 2009, state Sen.
This bill would require electronic recording of custodial interrogations so that there is evidence of the extent to which those conducting the interrogation may have pressured, persuaded, threatened, intimidated, or otherwise influenced the individual.
: Opposes this bill which seeks to legislate what should be “best practices” developed and implemented by the law enforcement profession, and it seeks to impose punitive sanctions, already rejected by the courts, for the failure to record an interrogation.
“Prosecutors have mixed opinions about the concept of recording interrogations,” said Shannon Edmonds, legislative director of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.
Having a record of an interrogation might allow prosecutors to rebut charges that a confession was coerced, he said.