ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO VIDEOTAPE POLICE
INTERROGATIONS: STATEMENT BY NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
PRESIDENT SEYMOUR W. JAMES, JR.
“The state Assembly should be commended for passing a bill (A
5886-C) that would require police to videotape the interrogations of
criminal suspects. The measure would reduce the likelihood that innocent
New Yorkers are convicted of crimes they did not commit as a result of
“Improperly conducted interrogations can and do result in false
confessions. The videotaping of an entire interrogation allows the judge
and jurors to see for themselves whether police officers used proper
procedures or coerced the defendant to confess.
“The New York State Bar Association urges the Senate to enact the
“We are disappointed that the Assembly failed to take action on
a second bill (A 5317-A), which would address another factor
contributing to wrongful convictions: mistakes by eyewitnesses in
identifying suspects. This bill would change police lineup procedures to
remove the possibility that a police officer—either inadvertently
or deliberately—might influence a witness in selecting a suspect.
The bill would require that lineups be conducted in a
“double-blind” fashion, meaning the officer overseeing the
lineup does not know the identity of the suspect.
The New York State Bar Association calls on both houses to pass the
eyewitness bill (A5317-A).
“Passage of both bills would be a win-win for the innocent and
for public safety. Each time an innocent person goes to prison, a
guilty person is free to commit another crime.”
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest
voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993