Conneticut may require police interrogations to be recorded

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Conneticut is considering a bill that would require the recording of  interrogations of people accused of capital felonies or class A or B felonies.

This sounds like a good thing:

Under the bill, any statement made during a police interrogation “at a place of detention” would not be admissible as evidence in a criminal proceeding if it there is no audiovisual recording of the comments. The recording cannot be intentionally altered.

And what is another way of guessing it might be good?  Well, the prosecutors and cops don’t like it:

The Division of Criminal Justice and the state police oppose the bill. They raised concerns about the expense involved and how it could hinder interrogation techniques.

[Posted by Dave Krueger]

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17 Responses to “Conneticut may require police interrogations to be recorded”

  1. #1 |  Angie K. | 

    The state police opposition is funny. At the ports of entry, immigration would almost always record their defendant and witness interviews while customs would hardly ever record theirs. It was always used as a defense tactic at trial that customs would not even get statements in the guy’s handwriting or have him review officer notes, much less not spending the money that the immigration office did to record the interviews…

  2. #2 |  MassHole | 

    “hinder interrogation techniques.” = we don’t want a jury to see it.

  3. #3 |  EH | 

    “We don’t like it, on account of it’ll make us look bad.”

  4. #4 |  William | 

    “hinder interrogation techniques” = won’t let us beat the crap out of detainees

  5. #5 |  marco73 | 

    Let me get this straight.
    There should be security cameras on people in public places all the time: if you aren’t guilty, then you have nothing to worry about.
    But a camera to record the interrogation of an arrestee, when that arrestee may be facing felony convictions and long prison terms, there are concerns about the expense and how it could affect interrogation techniques.
    There. I just wanted to make sure I could get both absurdities in the same place.

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Every interaction with state agents should be legal to record. Every interaction between state agents and civilians in the justice system should be recorded at the expense of the state.

  7. #7 |  Mario | 

    I notice that the article didn’t expand on this, so I think it’s only fair that we ask the prosecutors and cops exactly how this could “hinder interrogation techniques.”

    I would be interested in their answer.

  8. #8 |  Reformed Republican | 

    The cops should not care if they have nothing to hide.

    Isn’t that what they tell us when they want to take away our freedom or privacy?

  9. #9 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #5 marco73

    Let me get this straight.
    There should be security cameras on people in public places all the time: if you aren’t guilty, then you have nothing to worry about.
    But a camera to record the interrogation of an arrestee, when that arrestee may be facing felony convictions and long prison terms, there are concerns about the expense and how it could affect interrogation techniques.
    There. I just wanted to make sure I could get both absurdities in the same place.

    Nicely said. I think you cracked the nut perfectly.

  10. #10 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    If the cops are against something, it’s probably a good idea.

  11. #11 |  Elliot | 

    Watch this video in which Officer George Bruch details how recordings of interviews are transcribed then the tapes “recycled”, unless, of course, keeping them would help a conviction.

  12. #12 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Hey, I have an idea. How about a law that says the government must record interrogations of terrorist suspects. Since it’s not torture, no one should mind, right?

  13. #13 |  Bergman | 

    If interrogation evidence is only admissible if a audio/video recording exists for it, it would eliminate the ability of a cop to lie about what a suspect said in interrogation overnight. Cops wouldn’t be able to trick a person into signing a confession by telling them it’s a required form so the cop can release them. Cops would have to actually remember what was said when giving testimony, not simply make things up on the stand.

    No wonder they’re opposed!

  14. #14 |  BamBam | 

    spelling cop alert: it’s Connecticut, as in Connect 4. just don’t stick the N near the end of the word :)

  15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

    LOL! All fixed, BamBam.

  16. #16 |  Law Prof | 

    All police interrogations are recorded in Minnesota. They only cause trouble for liers and abusers of police power.

    About 7 years ago, A famous FBI interrogator was called in from Milwaukee for a difficult child killer interview. No one told him about the recording (which the FBI will not allow for the obvious reasons). Thanks to to the tape we know how he gained his record of sterling success. The defendant asserted his fifth amendment rights and request a lawyer to represent him EIGHTEEN times before confessing. He never did get a lawyer during the interrogation.

    Another example of Justice Scalia’s “new police professionalism.”

    I hate Judges who are police “groupies.”

  17. #17 |  marco73 | 

    Yes, the FBI refuses to record anything, relying on written field reports generated by the agents from the agent’s notes.
    So remember back in 1996, after the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics? There was a great deal of confusion. The FBI decided they needed to get a confession, pronto. They dragged in the security guard Richard Jewell, and told him they were making a “training video.” They wanted him to sign a blanket confession to the bombing. Jewell rightly asked what was going on, and declined to sign anything.
    Jewell was absolutely villified by law enforcement and the press. He was dubbed the Una-Bubba.
    After some real law men got involved, Jewell was demonstrated to have in fact been a hero, to have saved many lives by trying to evacute the area, and to have had nothing to do with the bombing: the bombing was actually carried out by some white supremicist nutjob.
    Jewell received a substantial settlement from various new agencies for their libelous coverage. Much of the misinformation was leaked by FBI agents who hoped to put pressure on Jewell (and his mother for Christ’s sake!) to confess to the crime.
    The governor of Georgia, in 2006, finally publicly apologized to Jewell and thanked him for his heroism. Jewell had to live in seclusion for the rest of his life because so many people had believed he was the bomber. Jewell died in 2007.
    The FBI has never apologized for their actions.

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