News Release ~ 05/21/2014

Department of Justice Announces New Policy Concerning the Recording of Custodial Interrogations

Washington, DC (May 21, 2014) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is greatly encouraged by the new DOJ policy, announced last week and effective July 11, 2014, creating a presumption in favor of recording custodial interrogations. For far too long, the nation’s federal law enforcement agencies have been behind the curve in terms of implementing this simple but critical and enormously beneficial practice. As detailed on NACDL’s newly-launched, web-based resource on recording interrogations, hundreds of jurisdictions across the country currently record interrogations as a matter of law or local policy.

NACDL has long advocated the recording of interrogations as a practice that ensures the transparency, integrity and propriety of the interrogation process. In 2002, the Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting “the videotaping of law enforcement interrogations from beginning to end and call[ing] upon Congress and state legislatures to pass legislation mandating this practice.” And on December 20, 2013, NACDL, joined by 39 of its state-level affiliates, sent a letter to the FBI Director requesting reversal of the longstanding agency policy forbidding recordation.

NACDL President Jerry J. Cox said: “As we have seen from data regarding wrongful convictions, coercive police techniques and compromised mental states can conspire to produce false confessions. Recording interrogations protects the accused against police misconduct, protects law enforcement against false allegations, and protects public safety by ensuring a verbatim record of the interrogation process and any statements.”

Contact Information

Ivan Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, (202) 465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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