New Law Requires All Murder Suspect Statements Be Taped
Supporters of a new law requiring law enforcement officers to record interviews with all homicide suspects say it will benefit both sides.Posted — Updated
The law is intended to minimize the chances for mistakes in the arrest and interview process. Supporters said it benefits officers as well as suspects.
“There was a lot of physical and emotional coercion,” Andrew Dalzell said as he spoke in favor of the law.
Dalzell said Carrboro police used force and intimidation in 1997 to get him to confess to murder in the disappearance of Debra Key.
Officers showed Dalzell a fake letter from the district attorney, stating he would face the death penalty if he didn't lead them to Key's body.
“If there's any question about what was said, or what happened, it'll be very easy to resolve those issues right then,” Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
The recordings can be either audio tape or videotape. A suspect has the right to refuse the recordings, but that statement of refusal must be recorded.
If a person of interest is interviewed in a situation where he or she is not in custody, the law does not require a taped interview, according to the State Bureau of Investigation.
Police agencies are allowed to destroy recordings a year after a convict's last possible appeal has been completed.
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