Requiring Police Interrogations be Recorded

H.3153 and S.222 are companion bills that require all police interrogations or questioning concerning felonies and class A misdemeanors be electronically record in audio or video form. The recording should include an explanation of constitutional rights and a waiver of those rights. If such an interrogation fails to be recorded (absent certain defined exigent circumstances) a judge may instruct a jury it may draw an adverse inference from the law officer’s failure to record the questioning.

This reform could help to prevent coerced confessions that put innocent individuals in prison. Recordings would have the added benefit of preventing unwarranted accusations of coercive interrogations by police. Transparency is vital to the proper functioning of the justice system and recording interrogations would be a meaningful step towards greater transparency in this field.

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