Contact: Josh Salter
jsalter@lakpr.com
212/329-1425

February 19, 2010

STATE BAR ASSOCIATION WELCOMES NYPD DECISION TO VIDEOTAPE CUSTODIAL INTERROGATIONS

New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City) today welcomed the decision by the New York Police Department to begin videotaping custodial interrogations as a pilot project:

"The New York State Bar Association is encouraged by Commissioner Raymond Kelly's announcement that the New York Police Department is launching a pilot program to videotape custodial interrogations," Getnick said. "We are convinced that the complete recording of custodial interrogations will help ensure the integrity of the fact-finding process in criminal cases and will be instrumental in preventing wrongful convictions while preserving the validity of confessions.

"We look forward to following developments on this important topic and to assisting Commissioner Kelly and the Department as the pilot project goes forward," he added.

A report issued by the State Bar's Task Force on Wrongful Convictions in 2009 concluded that the electronic recording of all custodial interrogations in felony-level investigations would help prevent and identify false confessions.  The report also pointed to other benefits of videotaping police interrogations.  Key among them are:

• reducing false denials by suspects that they did not make incriminating admissions;
• reducing court time and costs necessary to resolve suppression issues;
• better equipping the courts to determine whether constitutional and other procedural protections were honored; and
• providing strong evidence to counter false complaints of physical or psychological abuse.

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org