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Department of Justice Passes New Policy Requiring the Recording of Law Enforcement Officials

Posted by Seth Chazin | Jun 04, 2014 | 0 Comments

A new policy, set to take effect on July 11, will require that certain law enforcement agencies enforce recordings while others don't. Some of the agencies that will be enforcing this new policy will include the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol , Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Prisons.  These agents will start electronically recording statements and interrogations made by individuals in their custody.

This policy will not apply in cases where agents need urgent national security-related information that could expose sources or methods. Also, if interview subjects refuse the agents do not have to record video or audio.  For now this new Department of Justice police applied to cases where suspects are in federal custody.If agents record a suspect in custody before they appear in court then it will eliminate many problems that arise within trials.This is why many defense attorneys favor this approach. Jerry J. Cox, the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer stated that it is a way to prevent wrongful convictions, coercive police techniques, and compromised mental states that result in false confessions.

For several years the FBI has refused recording confessions and interviews. They believe that it interfered with and undermines the successful rapport building interviewing techniques which they practice.  Yet, the new policy will now require the FBI to enforce the police unless the suspect refuses.

The recording of confessions and interrogations will help protects suspects from police misconduct, prevent law enforcement officials from posing false allegations, and protects public safety by ensuring a word for word record of the interrogation process.

This is not the first time this type of policy has been considered. In the bay area alone, many state officials have suggested that law enforcement officials be required to wear a camera while on duty. Due to the known police misconduct and the deaths of innocent suspects, the use of cameras on duty will help prevent many travesties seen while law enforcement officials are on duty.

For more: NPR - New DOJ Policy Calls For Videotaping The Questioning of Suspects

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About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson