Thursday, 25 April 2013 14:53
Legislation would open the door to use of recordings in all felony investigations
State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) successfully presented to his Senate colleagues a proposal that would expand the recording of police interrogations. Senate Bill 1006, which would allow a videotaped interrogation of a defendant in any felony prosecution to be used as evidence in court, was approved today with no opposition.
“Recorded interrogations serve the cause of justice, both for crime victims and for the accused,” Raoul said. “A recording allows a jury to consider a defendant’s statements to law enforcement; it will also help ensure that police conduct interviews properly, respecting the rights of the accused.”
Under current law, videotapes of custodial interrogations are admissible as evidence if they pertain to a homicide investigation. If the subject of questioning is a lesser felony, under Illinois’ eavesdropping statute the person being interviewed must give permission for the police to videotape the interrogation. In practice, most suspects refuse.
“The Senate took a significant step today toward reducing the number of wrongful convictions in Illinois,” said Emily Miller with the Better Government Association (BGA). “The BGA is proud to stand with Sen. Raoul in support of this critical reform effort.”
“Our eavesdropping laws have resulted in a situation where police stop recording if a suspect is being questioned about a homicide but begins talking about or confessing to another crime,” Raoul said. “Allowing interrogations to be recorded and used as evidence will result in a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.”