Police Must Now Record Interrogations in Serious Investigations

Announcer: PYX 106, Quinn & Cantera.

Host 1: It’s Quinn & Cantera, PYX 106, 1-800-LAW-1010, 1800LAW1010.com. Old friend Paul Harding from Martin, Harding, Mazzotti. Back? Boy, you were on vacation or something?

Paul: I was, yeah we were. It was the kid’s break and we went out to…

Host 1: That’s right.

Paul: …California for a week.

Host 1: I heard you were in San Diego, you want to tell us where you went?

Host 2: Legoland.

Paul: True story. La Jolla, yeah. That’s exactly…

Host 2: Hello, darling.

Host 1: Nice spot? Yeah, my great grandmother had a beautiful place there in La Jolla, man. That’s a good town. That’s the place where every corner you buy wheatgrass. It’s just sitting there on the counter in every shop.

Host 2: It’s a good spot. Well, welcome home.

Paul: Good to be home.

Host 2: Did you see the seals? Did you see the seals?

Paul: Yeah, you see the seals. You kind of just recognize that their life is just a lot different than ours. I mean, there’s water everywhere, it’s warm, it’s sunny, people are smiling. Yeah.

Host 1: Yeah, I know.

Host 2: It’s a different place, for sure.

Host 1: No question. It is the highest taxed state in the nation, for the record.

Host 2: Is it really?

Host 1: And New York is three, I think, believe it or not.

Host 2: Anyway, so…

Host 1: So we didn’t talk to you last week, so there’s a lot that went into effect that we’re reading about, where police must record interrogations in serious investigations. So I always think of the movies, when they want to ask a tough question in an interrogation, and they turn off the camera. Are they now not allowed to turn off the camera?

Paul: Yeah, they cannot turn off the camera. So this whole law came about to really ensure with liability of confessions. So the police are supporting this, and of course if you are someone who feels that you went through a confession and maybe said things that you didn’t want to say, you know, the defense bar in the criminal courts are defending this also. So you’ve got this situation where the police are still allowed to be deceptive. Meaning, they can go in and they can say certain things. They can say, “Hey, your accomplice just sort of implicated you,” even though that isn’t true. That’s still allowable.

Host 1: Okay.

Paul: They didn’t change the makeup of how things can happen. What they said is, “This is gonna be videotaped in serious crimes.”

Host 2: They can do that because, even if it’s true or not, if it elicits a response that gives them information, then all of a sudden that’s a win. That makes sense to me. Right?

Host 1: It’s still a little tricky though.

Host 2: It’s a little shady, like shady and tricky, but I mean, I get it. You know?

Paul: Well you’ve got undercover police officers, you got, when you’re dealing with undercover, like, you know, shady things, I guess you’re gonna use, they’re allowed to do some things that are just a little bit, you know, that we kinda think, “No, did that really happen?” But it really does. But one of the big things, too, is there’s always an argument, did, or when did the person being interrogated ask for an attorney? Right, so there’s, it’s always, because people don’t always use the exact words, but there are lots of words that can, at that moment, the interrogation has to stop. So now, that will be, because that is the one sort of, one of those appealable, overturn-able things after a trial, and they find, “Oh, we think he asked for an attorney here, therefore everything was not admissible…”

Host 1: After that. It sounds like, it sounds like, look. I mean, you and I can sit here and talk about it, I mean, if you want me to go get you a lawyer, I can do it, but I mean, I think you can just talk to me…

Host 2: Right, so any hint of the…

Paul: Well you don’t, the classic is you don’t, I mean, “You’re not guilty. I mean, if you didn’t do anything wrong, why do you need a lawyer,” approach. Right?

Host 1: That always gets you when you’re guilty.

Host 2: I would buy that, too.

Host 1: I think my mom used that against me.

Host 2: Two questions left for me, Paul. So is this a rule or a law that police now must record interrogations in serious investigations?

Paul: Yeah, it now has become a law.

Host 2: It’s a law.

Paul: Before, there was optional recording of interrogations.

Host 2: And then who deems whether this is a serious investigation or not?

Paul: Well, they said non-felony, non-drug felonies, they’ve labeled examples of homicide and sexual assault, and so they’ve got it sort of outlined in the statute, and it has to be the conversations which take place within the confines of either the prosecutor’s office or the police station. Not if they’re just gonna ask you some questions on the street.

Host 2: How many cases do you think are either won or lost right there, before it even gets, before they even get charged?

Paul: Yeah, so that’s really where they get the real, especially if they’re kinda trying to uncover, if there’s multiple people involved. It’s the classic case of getting information and being able to build the case. It’s a substantial part. You’ve kinda got people, you’ve got their full attention, you know, they understand the gravity of the situation now because they’re being asked questions by the police, and therefore, I think this is a huge tool. And again, the police commenting on this are quite positive also because they think somehow, the jury thinks that they’ve coerced them when actually it was a properly done, and very delicately done interrogation that brought about the confession.

Host 2: It really is a win-win.

Host 1: It sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Host 2: Win-win, I think, if you have complaints on either side.

Paul: Exactly.

Host 1: All right, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding, Mazzotti. You know, I meant actual seals, not Navy Seals, I know there’s a Navy Seal…

Paul: We think we saw both.

Host 1: Okay.

Paul: Yeah.

Host 2: Well welcome home from San Diego, Paul. We appreciate the time this morning.

Paul: Thanks.

Host 1: 1-800-LAW-1010, 1-800-LAW-10…