Two cases from late 2013 show us clear benefits to how video recording protects confessions. This month we highlight, Reed v. Woods(September 2013) took place in Louisiana and Michigan respectively.
The case Reed v. Woods was reopened to address the defendant’s claim that his confession was coerced. In the end, the US District Court in Michigan upheld what the lower court had decided—the confession was not coerced. And they were able to do this thanks to the fact that his interview and interrogation had been recorded.
According to the case, which was reprinted from Westlaw with permission of Thomson Reuter, the following details were concluded:
- The trial court had had an opportunity to evaluate the defendant’s testimony
- The defendant had been advised of his rights before being questioned
- The defendant had voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waived those rights
- The defendant had refused to sign a written waiter
- There was no evidence the defendant was threatened or abused
- The interview was recorded
- The trial court had the opportunity to evaluate the impact of the police officers’ statements
As state-by-state lawmakers enact legislation that expands and requires the use of digital video and audio recording equipment when it comes to criminal cases, justice is likewise expanding.
The fears that recording interviews translates into fewer confessions and fewer convictions is not panning out—rather the increased allowance for recording the same is providing the concrete evidence, chain of events and information needed to bring cases to close more quickly, more effectively, and more simply.