The NYPD will soon begin taping post-arrest murder and sexual assault interrogations in full, rather than just the confession phase. We’ve blogged before about the departments efforts to adequately address the difficult question of “who guards the guardians?” and this looks to be an important move in that direction. From Commissioner Ray Kelly’s announcement:
Recording can aid not only the innocent, the defense and the prosecution but also enhance public confidence in the criminal justice system by increasing transparency as to what was said and done when the suspect agreed to speak with police…
One holdup had been a concern that juries viewing videotapes might be alarmed by aggressive but legal interrogation techniques but the NYPD feels that judges will be able to direct juries to prevent bias. That said, some would like the department to go even further:
Stephen Saloom, the policy director for the Innocence Project at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law, called the proposal a “good first step” but said that all custodial interrogations, not merely those that come after arrest, should be videotaped to prevent false confessions.