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NY Times calls for recording of interrogations

Posted: January 14, 2008 11:12 am

“What did Martin Tankleff look and sound like when he confessed in 1988 to bludgeoning and slashing his parents to death?” the New York Times asks in a Saturday editorial. “We’ll never know. There is no video or audio recording, just an incomplete narrative, handwritten by detectives, which Mr. Tankleff signed, quickly repudiated, and spent nearly two decades trying to undo.”

DNA exonerations have proven that false confessions happen. In more than 25% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing, a defendant confessed to a crime they didn’t commit. And electronic recording of interrogations prevents false confessions. Recording also aids prosecutors and law enforcement investigations – preserving a true account of an interrogation, allowing officers to focus on questions and not note-taking, and providing a training tool for future interrogations.

Illinois, Alaska and Minnesota – along with more than 500 local jurisdictions – record interrogations in some or most investigations. A bill stalled in the New York legislature last year, and the Times calls for passage of recording legislation this year.

The Tankleff case and the recent high-profile exoneration of Jeffrey Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he confessed to but did not commit, both argue strongly for fixing this glaring flaw in New York’s justice system.

Read the full editorial here. (New York Times, 01/13/08)
Download the Innocence Project’s 2007 report on critical reforms to the New York criminal justice system.

Read more about Marty Tankleff’s case.

Read more about Jeffrey Deskovic’s case

Does your state have a law requiring recording of interrogations? Find out in our interactive map.

Tags: Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Jeff Deskovic, False Confessions, Marty Tankleff



Science Thursday - July 26, 2012

Posted: July 26, 2012 7:40 pm

Lawyers and Judges consider the “CSI effect” in Ohio, a Texas analyst is being sued for misrepresenting the results of a drug test, and problems at a Minnesota lab cast doubt on thousands of cases. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
Lawyers and judges in Ohio discuss whether there is a “CSI effect” altering jurors expectations
The Texas analyst handling most of the drug testing for the Dallas County family courts system faces a lawsuit from a father involved a custody dispute who alleges that the analyst misrepresented the results of a drug test.
Problems at the St. Paul Police Department Crime Laboratory have cast doubt on forensic results in thousands of cases.

Tags: Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - August 23, 2012

Posted: August 23, 2012 5:45 pm

An Indiana woman convicted of murder based on arson evidence receives a new trial, a panel of exonerees speak about forensic flaws at a conference in Philadelphia, and laboratory issues in North Carolina and Minnesota affect criminal cases. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
Kristine Bunch, of Indiana, was released from prison and has been granted a new trial after serving 16 years. Her conviction for the murder of her three-year-old son was reversed because the arson evidence critical to her conviction has been discredited.
Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld called on the American Chemical Society to help prevent wrongful convictions based on faulty forensics at a recent conference in Philadelphia. He was joined by three exonerees who spent years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.
North Carolina prosecutors dropped a DWI case because a former state crime lab analyst refused to accept a subpoena to testify.
Senior officials at the St. Paul Police Department are demanding answers for the drug unit’s failure.

Tags: North Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - September 13, 2012

Posted: September 13, 2012 12:45 pm

Massachusetts is investigating the work of a drug analyst that might lead to a review of tens of thousands of cases, forensic evidence from the West Memphis 3 trials are reviewed, and coroners in Kentucky push for funding for a medical examiner. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stated that there will be criminal and civil consequences for the "breakdown in oversight" that shuttered a state police crime lab drug unit.
Drug evidence from the St. Paul Police Crime Lab continues to be scrutinized. Pre-trial hearings are now focusing on whether the leftover evidence that could be retested might be contaminated.
Fibers which were once said to be "similar” to samples retrieved from the homes of two members of the West Memphis Three are now being questioned by three different forensic scientists.
A former Missouri medical examiner, who lost his medical license in the state and was fired from another medical examiner position in Florida, is now being investigated for keeping body parts in a storage unit.
A group of coroners in Kentucky worked together to save a medical examiner position in their state budget.

Tags: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - September 27, 2012

Posted: September 27, 2012 5:45 pm

Colorado develops a new forensic science research center, crime labs in Texas are overcoming backlog, and experts suggest caution with testimony on fingerprint evidence. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
The St. Paul crime lab in Minnesota, which suspended drug testing in July for lack of protocols, is now under scrutiny for similar issues with its fingerprint analysis. Currently the lab has “no standard operating procedures or formal protocols” that guide how fingerprints are analyzed.
To overcome a backlog of forensic evidence at state crime labs, the Texas Department of Public Safety will prioritize the testing of drug and blood-alcohol evidence in felony cases. As a result, crime labs will only analyze drug and blood-alcohol evidence for misdemeanors if a prosecutor requests a lab report.
The Colorado Mesa University continues building a new Forensic Investigation Research Station that will house research space, labs and classrooms. The new facility, the fifth of its kind in the country, will conduct original forensic research including decomposition.
Various legal and science experts across the country are examining the limits of using fingerprint evidence in court. As studies are only underway to determine how fingerprints vary within populations, experts suggest that testimony should not guarantee accuracy, provide statistics, or comment on print uniqueness as of yet.
Though the FBI adopted new Rapid DNA technology that allows DNA field testing, it will be some time before it passes National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards and can be used by public law enforcement. Additionally, the DNA Identification Act of 1994, which only allows accredited labs to test DNA, does not extend to the new technology.

Tags: Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - October 11, 2012

Posted: October 11, 2012 4:35 pm

Tags: Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - October 25, 2012

Posted: October 25, 2012 4:30 pm

Tags: California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - November 22, 2012

Posted: November 22, 2012 7:30 am

Tags: Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - December 13, 2012

Posted: December 13, 2012 12:15 pm

Tags: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, New York, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - January 17, 2013

Posted: January 17, 2013 11:30 am

Tags: North Carolina, Iowa, Minnesota, Virginia, New York, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - January 31, 2013

Posted: January 31, 2013 6:25 pm

Tags: District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - February 28, 2013

Posted: February 28, 2013 4:10 pm

Tags: Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont, Science Thursday



Science Thursday - March 7, 2013

Posted: March 7, 2013 11:50 am

Tags: District of Columbia, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Science Thursday



Science News - May 9, 2013

Posted: May 9, 2013 3:10 pm

Tags: Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia, Science Thursday



Watch: Damon Thibodeaux Adjust to Life After Exoneration

Posted: May 9, 2013 3:30 pm

Tags: Minnesota, Damon Thibodeaux



Science News - May 23, 2013

Posted: May 23, 2013 3:10 pm

Tags: Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Science Thursday



Science News - August 29, 2013

Posted: August 29, 2013 11:50 am

Tags: Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, Science Thursday



A Place of Their Own

Posted: September 24, 2013 3:00 pm

Tags: Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas, New York, Jeff Deskovic, Rickie Johnson, Michael Saunders, Damon Thibodeaux, David Wiggins, Exoneree Compensation



Minnesota Legislators Introduce Compensation Bill

Posted: January 29, 2014 5:30 pm

Tags: Minnesota, Exoneree Compensation



Minnesota Compensation Bill Considered by Legislators

Posted: April 29, 2014 5:00 pm

Tags: Minnesota, Exoneree Compensation



Pioneer Press Says Minnesota Should Pass Compensation Bill

Posted: May 2, 2014 5:25 pm

Tags: Minnesota, Exoneree Compensation



DNA Points to Minnesota Man's Innocence

Posted: June 4, 2014 4:30 pm

Tags: Minnesota



Exonerees Face Ongoing Hardship without Compensation

Posted: June 16, 2014 4:40 pm

Tags: Minnesota, Rickey Johnson, Calvin Willis, Exoneree Compensation