Legislation would open the door to use of recordings in all felony investigations
SPRINGFIELD, ILÂ â€“ Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) successfully presented to his Senate colleagues a proposal that would expand the recording of police interrogations. Senate Bill 1006, which would allow a videotaped interrogation of a defendant in any felony prosecution to be used as evidence in court, was approved today with no opposition.
â€œRecorded interrogations serve the cause of justice, both for crime victims and for the accused,â€ Raoul said. â€œA recording allows a jury to consider a defendantâ€™s statements to law enforcement; it will also help ensure that police conduct interviews properly, respecting the rights of the accused.â€
Under current law, videotapes of custodial interrogations are admissible as evidence if they pertain to a homicide investigation. If the subject of questioning is a lesser felony, under Illinoisâ€™ eavesdropping statute the person being interviewed must give permission for the police to videotape the interrogation. In practice, most suspects refuse.
â€œThe Senate took a significant step today toward reducing the number of wrongful convictions in Illinois,â€ said Emily Miller with the Better Government Association (BGA). â€œThe BGA is proud to stand with Sen. Raoul in support of this critical reform effort.â€
â€œOur eavesdropping laws have resulted in a situation where police stop recording if a suspect is being questioned about a homicide but begins talking about or confessing to another crime,â€ Raoul said. â€œAllowing interrogations to be recorded and used as evidence will result in a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.â€