Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams was correct to veto a bill requiring police to record or videotape interrogations of suspects in violent crimes, editorializes the Washington Post. The bill went too far, the Post says, in requiring that all unrecorded statements given during custodial interrogations be deemed involuntary and thus inadmissible, regardless of the circumstances. Williams said that “provides an unacceptable vehicle for violent and dangerous offenders to escape criminal prosecution.”
The Post says that in general, interrogations should be taped. Texas and Illinois have such a requirement by statute, Alaska and Minnesota by court orders. The Post notes that the Washington, D.C., the police department is establishing a policy that requires videotaping custodial interrogations from beginning to end. Officers who knowingly violate the policy will be punished, and programs for interviewing and interrogation training are in the works. A high-level working group of prosecutors and police has been formed to monitor compliance.