Some lawyers in New York State want to require interrogations of suspects to be videotaped. Now, Newsday reports, there is no way for a juror to be absolutely sure that police didn’t beat or intimidate a defendant into confessing, or wehther a defendant is lying about being beaten or denied an attorney by police.
The only records of an interrogation presented in court are a detective’s testimony and his handwritten notes. A bill to require videotaping interrogations has been introduced in the state Assembly. “What you’re seeking to avoid is the danger of false confessions, or the false reporting of confessions,” said Norman Reimer, president-elect of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, which advocates videotaping interrogations. “Taping minimizes that danger.”
The issue will play a role in a murder trial set to begin soon in in Riverhead, Long Island, of a man accused of strangling his next-door neighbor. Detectives say that after his arrest, the defendant said things that showed some knowledge of what happened, but stopped short of confessing.