Mandating videotaping of interrogations

24-Jan-2018 14:28

The justices reasoned that “recording…is now a reasonable and necessary safeguard, essential to the adequate protection of the accused’s right to counsel, his right against self-incrimination and, ultimately, his right to a fair trial” (Stephan v. Nine years later, the Supreme Court of Minnesota also ruled for compulsory videotaping, stating that “an accurate record makes it possible for a defendant to challenge misleading or false testimony and…protects the state against meritless claims” (State v. Decisions by state Supreme Courts in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire fell short of ruling that their state constitutions mandate recording of interrogations.

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Even if judges and jurors have the opportunity to view an entire interrogation videotape, it may still be an extremely difficult task for them to accurately assess whether or not a confession was voluntarily given. However, the pervasive tendency for people to commit the fundamental attribution error should serve as a warning that the task of evaluating the voluntariness of suspects’ statements made during an in-custody interrogation designed explicitly for the purpose of extracting a confession is not necessarily as straightforward as it might seem.Importantly, Geller found that the police, who had experience with videotaping, expressed strong support for the practice.