Delaware Vote Tracker

General Assembly Passes Ban on Deceptive Interrogations of Minors in Police Custody

The Senate and House have passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown and Sen. Marie Pinkney that would bar all Delaware law enforcement officers from using deceptive tactics while interrogating minors in their custody. Those tactics prohibited by the bill would include knowingly communicating false statements about evidence or making false or misleading promises of leniency. 

Under the bill, any statement elicited from a minor in violation of the law would be deemed inadmissible in juvenile delinquency or criminal court proceedings. 

House Bill 419 passed the House by a vote of 34-7, with all the no votes being from Republicans. It passed the Senate 14-6-1, with all the no votes being from Repubicans as well, and with conservative Democrat Bruce Ennis not voting.

As you would know from watching any episode of ‘Law and Order,’ the police can deceive any adult suspect during a custodial interrogation, and the Courts have generally upheld this tactic. However, given the increasing number of false confessions recorded by the National Registry of Exonerations and recent science around adolescent brain development, several states across the nation have passed legislation to ban the use of deceptive interrogation techniques on juveniles.

House Bill 419 SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Minor-Brown, Dorsey Walker, Heffernan, Baumbach, Griffith, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Lynn, MorrisonHouse Passed 34-7. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Friel 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 Dukes Hensley M.Smith Postles Ramone Spiegelman YearickCollins D.Short Gray Morris Shupe Smyk Vanderwende
Pinkney, Gay, TownsendSenate Passed 14-6-1. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Lopez Bonini Hocker Lawson Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson
Not Voting: Ennis
Current Status: Sent to Governor Carney

“It can be really difficult to understand why a person would wrongly confess to a crime they did not commit but the reality is-those confessions exist especially with children. An interrogation room can feel scary and intimidating,” said Rep. Minor-Brown. “This bill builds confidence and trust in a system that has done harm to many people for far too long. We must continue to revisit past practices, improve transparency by recording interrogations so evidence cannot be disputed, and move ahead to advance justice in Delaware.”  

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

2 comments on “General Assembly Passes Ban on Deceptive Interrogations of Minors in Police Custody

  1. It struck me that the bill only covers lying to minors during interrogations. I guess the cops can still lie to the rest of us. It also struck me that only the Republicans think that cops lying, either to minors OR adults is perfectly fine. Shameful.

  2. Another Mike

    Wait, are there still police agencies in Delaware NOT recording interrogations in 2022?

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