The House today passed House Bill 215 unanimously. Sponsored by Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, this bill would require law enforcement to electronically record custodial interrogations when they relate to a crime allegedly committed by an adult or a delinquent act allegedly committed by a child. The recording could include audio or video and audio, depending on the equipment available at the time of the interrogation.
Under HB 215, there would be limited exceptions to this rule, including exigent (pressing) circumstances, a person refusing to be recorded, or if the recording would reveal a confidential informant’s identity or jeopardize the safety of the officer, the individual interrogated, or another individual.
Prosecutors would be required to notify the defense of an intention to introduce an unrecorded statement in court and of the exception that permitted the lack of recording. Under the bill, the prosecution would be required to prove, through clear and convincing evidence, that an exception applies.
HB 215 would go into effect nine months after it is signed into law.
|House Bill 215 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Minor-Brown, Chukwuocha, Lambert, Baumbach, Bentz, Cooke, K.Johnson, Lynn, Morrison, Wilson-Anton||House Passed 41-0. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||None|
|Pinkney, Brown, Sokola, Townsend|
|Current Status —||Sent to Senate|
“Interrogations are a critical component of the law enforcement process, but too often, there are questions about what actually was said or what happened in that room,” said Rep. Minor-Brown. “Much like body cameras, taping interrogations will provide an accurate record of what happened. It will increase transparency and accountability, but it will also provide protection for both the person being questioned and the officers conducting the interrogation. It will reduce false accusations and help restore trust in the process.”
“Recording police interrogations will protect both defendants and law enforcement from false accusations by preserving an accurate record of what transpired,” said Sen. Marie Pinkney, the Senate prime sponsor of HB 215. “If we hope to restore trust in our justice system, we must be willing to eliminate secrecy, innuendo and ambiguity from the equation. House Bill 215 is a major step forward in that effort and I look forward to passing this legislation in the Senate.”