Confession-Taping Approved in Illinois

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Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will sign a bill passed yesterday by the state legislature that will require audio- or videotaping of most homicide-related interrogations and confessions. The Chicago Tribune calls the development “a dramatic change in the way many murder investigations are conducted.”

“It will be a major step forward for law enforcement and for the entire criminal justice system in Illinois,” said Chicago attorney Thomas Sullivan, co-chairman of a commission that recommended sweeping reforms in the state’s capital justice system.

Police voiced serious concerns about the idea when it was raised three years ago. The taping proposal was one of the most controversial to arise from former Gov. George Ryan’s death penalty task force last year. If confessions were captured on tape, the commissioners said, courts would be better able to evaluate whether they were voluntarily given and believable.


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