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Compendium Shows More Jurisdictions Recording Custodial Interrogations

By Thomas P. Sullivan

Few aspects of police work are more important than questioning arrested suspects in felony investigations. These interrogations occur every day in police and sheriff departments throughout the country. To a large extent, the criminal justice system depends upon the confidence prosecutors, jurors, judges, defense lawyers, the media, and the public have in the way these closed door sessions are conducted, and the accuracy of how the results are reported.

Human memory is fallible, with a tendency to dwindle dramatically with the passage of time. Normally the detectives make notes and the suspects do not. Despite their best efforts, detectives are not able to provide complete, accurate reproductions of what occurred based on their recollections, handwritten notes, and typed reports. They cannot reproduce precisely all statements, physical actions, facial expressions, and tones of voice of each participant. These are truisms — statements of obvious fact.

Accordingly, during the pas

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