One of the major arguments that police departments and even federal offices in the past have given for not adopting electronic recording when it comes to custodial interrogations has been the out-of-pocket costs. The reality is though that ERI (electronic recording of custodial interviews) actually enables organizations to be more efficient, do more with less and reserve resources for focusing on your core competencies. In fact, out-of-pocket costs of video recording are often far less than the financial costs of not recording. Here are 5 reasons why moving to digital audio and video recording systems is actually a cost-effective purchase in 2015.
According to the Constitution Project:
“Of the 312 wrongful convictions in the United States that have been overturned based on DNA evidence, as of March 2014, nearly 25 percent involved a false confession or false incriminating statements, according to the Innocence Project” (p.37).
25% is a large number and false confessions can be costly as once it’s discovered, the process to find the perpetrator must restart. Recording won’t prevent all false confessions, but departments which have implemented a recording system have seen the number decrease.
Have you seen someone confess in court because of suggestion or getting caught up in the drama of the case? Recording can be prevent that as you have the interview in video format and can show the accused in a different environment. Thomas P. Sullivan, Co-Chair of the Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment, a former U.S. Attorney and a leading expert on recording of interrogations, found in his investigations:
“Experience shows that recordings dramatically reduce the number of defense motions to suppress statements and confessions …. Officers are spared from defending themselves against allegations of coercion, trickery, and perjury during hostile cross examinations. Trial and appellate judges, who repeatedly have been forced to listen to the prosecution and defense present conflicting versions of what took place during unrecorded custodial questioning, also favor recordings” (p.38).
5 More Reasons Digital Recording is Cost-Effective:
- Reduces number of false confessions therefore decreasing time and energy spent on a case (workforce expense)
- Provides consistency between interview and courtroom (workforce expense, trial expense)
- Opportunities to grow and learn from interview experience and feedback on recording (training expense)
- Minimizes the need for large storage location for audio/video tapes (facility expense)
- Reduces number of hours needed and potential for mistakes if interviewers are not transcribing notes (workforce expense)
In addition, the out-of-pocket costs of video recording are often far less than the financial costs of not recording, including lengthy suppression motions, large damage judgments for the wrongly convicted, expensive investigations into alleged police abuses, and re-trying cases where there is other credible evidence of guilt but the confession is seriously tainted. The declining cost of digital video recording methods, which store images on a computer,