NACDL - Kentucky - Recording Interrogations Compendium

Kentucky - Recording Interrogations Compendium

Information on the policy and history of recording custodial interrogations in Kentucky.

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Summary

Kentucky has no statute or court rule requiring recording of custodial interrogations.

Supreme Court Ruling

Brashars v. Com., 25 S.W.3d 58, 59, 60, 62, 63 (Ky. 2000): Appellants convicted of sexually assaulting a minor appealed their convictions, claiming the lower courts erred in admitting statements the appellants made to a police officer because the officer did not electronically record the statements. The appellants contended that “due process requires law enforcement officers, where feasible, to tape interrogations.” The Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled against the appellants, holding that “the Kentucky Constitution does not require electronic recording of custodial interrogations.” The court stated that it “agree[s] with the view that widespread recording has its benefits.”

A Federal Case

United States v. Wigginton, No. 6:15-CR-5-GFVT-HAI-1, 2015 WL 8527606, at *1, *8-9 (E.D. Ky. Oct. 28, 2015): The defendant was charged with robbery and moved to suppress statements he made to law enforcement officers. He claimed he was intoxicated during his custodial interrogation, and that he had been interrogated before being read his Miranda rights. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky denied the defendant’s motion to suppress after reviewing a videotape of the defendant’s interrogation. The court’s discussion, below, demonstrates the value of electronic recordings of custodial interrogations to law enforcement:

Defendant alleges that law enforcement ‘should have known’ that he was intoxicated at the time of his confession resulting in coercive conduct. At the evidentiary hearing, Special Agent Burke testified that Defendant seemed ‘coherent, clear’ and Defendant conceded that ‘I look at the video and I look coherent’ . . . Further, the Court has reviewed the video of the interview and the objective circumstances support those descriptions. Throughout the interview Defendant remained upright, coherent, and demonstrated no other physical manifestations of intoxication. His speech was not slurred, and he engaged in meaningful conversation with the officers. His answers to law enforcement’s questions were appropriate, and were focused on the task at hand. Moreover, his discussions with the officers indicates he was fully aware of the seriousness of the situation at hand and had detailed knowledge of the criminal justice system . . . Moreover, at no time did Defendant inform officers of his alleged intoxication. Based on this record, there were no circumstances from which law enforcement did know, or should have known, of Defendant’s alleged intoxication. As such, there is no evidence of any form of coercion on behalf of law enforcement. Therefore, Defendant's confession was voluntary within the meaning of the Due Process clause.

Miscellaneous

Departments we have identified that presently record:

Elizabethtown Louisville St. Matthews
Hardin CS Louisville Metro  
Jeffersontown Oldham CS