According to an article from the Syracuse Post Standard and syracuse.com, New York State has announced it will offer grants to law enforcement agencies for the purchase of equipment need to record police interrogations. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the availability of the funding on July 15. Recording interrogations, the Governor said, would prevent wrongful convictions and protect officers from false accusations. In his words:
“Fairness and integrity form the foundation of our justice system and New York state is committed to providing local law enforcement with the resources necessary to improve the effectiveness of the process,” Cuomo said in a news release. “Wrongful convictions not only harm the innocent, but they allow the actual perpetrators of crime to remain free. The new equipment that will result from this funding will improve the strength of New York’s criminal justice system, making all New Yorkers safer as a result.”
What’s interesting to notice is how the issue is framed in terms of public safety and the integrity of the system. Yes, recording will prevent the catastrophe of convicting the innocent, but at least as important, convicting an innocent person leaves the real predator on the street, able to kill or rape again. And the thrust of the idea is to bolster the “fairness and integrity” of the system, because wrongful convictions eat away at both.
Readers, does New York State have mandatory standards, or any standards, for the recording of confessions? Does your police department record interrogations? The article states that “345 law enforcement agencies in 58 of the 62 counties statewide video record suspect interrogations, according to the governor’s office,” and supplies a partial list.