Wisconsin law enforcement agencies were ordered yesterday by the state supreme court to begin electronically recording juvenile interrogations in both felony and misdemeanor cases, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The decision, which left some financially strapped police departments wondering how they will pay for recording equipment, was praised by attorneys, judges, and others who said it would protect both children and police from false accusations.
Milwaukee County Children’s Court judges said the new requirement will help them get a clearer picture of the circumstances of juvenile confessions and could save time. “It will likely lead to pretrial resolutions of more cases because there may not be any dispute as to what happened” during the interrogation, said Judge Joseph Wall. The ruling says audiotaping is sufficient to meet the requirement, “but videotaping may provide an even more complete picture” of the interrogation. “It is time for Wisconsin to tackle the false confession issue and take appropriate action so that the youth of our state are protected from confessing to crimes they did not commit,” the court said.