Illinois Is First State to Require Taped Interrogations

Governor Rod Blagojevich has signed a measure requiring police to record their interrogations of homicide suspects. The governor's signature makes Illinois the first state to officially implement such a policy. Blagojevich, a former prosecutor, noted that his previously-voiced concerns that video taped interrogations would impede police from doing their job had been overridden by the knowledge that the tapes will yield "clearer, more reliable" evidence for the state's justice system. The law will require detectives to audio- or video-tape homicide suspects during all interrogations that occur while the suspects are in custody. Although state law does not require the practice, law enforcement agents in Alaska and Minnesota also tape interrogations. This measure is one of more than 80 reforms recommended by the Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment. Additional reform legislation based on the recommendations currently awaits Blagojevich's signature. (New York Times, July 17, 2003, Peoria Journal Star, July 18, 2003). See Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment and Recent Legislative Developments.