The New Yorker recently pointed out “in an era of ubiquitous iPhones, the nation’s most advanced law-enforcement agency has been using a technology that, in the words of one official, “dates from the time of Hammurabi,” but this is all changing.
One question that remains is what happened before the policy? If local police and individual states mandated the use of ERI but the Federal government did not, were fewer cases receiving justice? Were there more wrongful convictions? Learn more as we share highlights from these “Hammurabi” methods.
Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton was reported to explain that the professionals in the FBI and other Federal agents were made to look incompetent time and time again when local defense lawyers could bring recorded testimony, interviews, etc. to bear and they could not.
Charlton explained the outcome of no recording equipment in The New Yorker’s early June blog post The FBI’s Interrogations, Finally on Film:
“So we would either lose cases, plea down cases, or find some lesser charge.” [Charlton] got so tired of the situation that he ordered all federal investigators in Arizona to record interrogations, the rules notwithstanding.
The New Yorker post also pointed out that the Center on Wrongful Convictions and the Innocence Project found that “a considerable proportion [of wrongful convictions] were based on false confessions”—more than 25%!
Because false confessions have been tied very closely with police interrogation methods, the accountability that electronically recording interviews could provide continued to push key decision makers and influencers from the ABA and APA to lobby for change.
And change is what we are seeing now.
To read the full story, click The FBI’s Interrogations: Finally on Film.