New Law Requiring Recording of Interrogations Proposed


A new bill has been proposed that would require law enforcement officers to make audiovisual recordings of custodial interrogations when a suspect is being questioned about a “major felony.” The recording would be made with or without the consent or knowledge of the suspect being interrogated. The recording would have to be provided to the defense as part of the discovery package and the jury would be able to consider the absence of any such recording.



     

 

A new bill has been proposed that would require law enforcement officers to make audiovisual recordings of custodial interrogations when a suspect is being questioned about a “major felony.” The recording would be made with or without the consent or knowledge of the suspect being interrogated. The recording would have to be provided to the defense as part of the discovery package and the jury would be able to consider the absence of any such recording.

 

Criminal defense attorneys throughout the United States and in Michigan have supported this type of law for years. A video recording protects the police as much as it does the defendant. From the defense perspective, my client’s regularly tell me that admissions attributed to them by law enforcement are untrue or exaggerated and there is no evidence that documents the veracity of the alleged statement. There have also been numerous studies which show that interviewers, with their own particular biases, tend to hear what they want to hear and interpret statements in ways that fit or support their bias. This is often done unintentionally. Furthermore, law enforcement frequently claims that defendants are dishonest because they supposedly make inconsistent statements during interrogations or questioning. Unfortunately, I find that many of these alleged inconsistencies often are the result of poor listening by police officers or misinterpretations as opposed to actual inconsistent statements by my clients. Video recordings would finally be available under this new law so that prosecutors, defense lawyers and juries would be able to see what actually occurred and what actually was said as opposed to hearing a police officer’s unreliable interpretation of a suspect’s actions, demeanor and statements.

 

From law enforcement’s perspective, the new law would protect them as well. There are certainly occasions when suspects who have made inculpatory statements claim that police lied about what they said or they made a statement because they were abused or mistreated. The video tape would eliminate to a great extent these false allegations.

 

Any law enforcement officer who does not support this legislation has something they want to hide. There is just no other excuse. I encourage everyone to contact your state representatives and let them know that you support this new bill (SB 152).

 

Mr. Loren Dickstein, Esq.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

3000 Town Center, Ste. 1310

Southfield, MI   48075

(248) 263-6800

Fax: (248) 357-1371

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