NACDL - Nevada - Recording Interrogations Compendium

Nevada - Recording Interrogations Compendium

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

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Summary

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

Legislation

On March 27, 2017, the Nevada Legislature introduced A.B. 414, a bill that would have required Nevada law enforcement agencies to record custodial interrogations of homicide and sexual assault suspects. The bill passed the Nevada Assembly, but ultimately failed in the Nevada Senate on June 4, 2017. See A.B. 414, Nevada Legislature Website (3/27/2017) https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Reports/history.cfm?billname=AB414.

Cases

In Jimenez v. State, 775 P.2d 694, 696 (Nev. 1989), while ruling that the state constitution did not require electronic recording of custodial interviews, the Supreme Court stated, “…requiring recordings of statements would alleviate the problems of credibility of police officers who claim a defendant made incriminating statements…”

Miscellaneous

The Nevada Advisory Committee on the Administration of Justice, chaired by a state Supreme Court Justice, held a meeting in June 2016.  The Chief Deputy Attorney General presented a memorandum to the Committee summarizing the state statutes, court rules and case law on the electronic recording of custodial interrogations.  The memorandum states in part:

Courts in numerous other states, while declining to mandate the recording of custodial interrogations, have noted the strong policy considerations that favor recording as a standard law enforcement practice.  Recording can reduce the time spent in court resolving disputes over whether the defendant properly received Miranda warnings, what occurred during an interrogation, and the actual content of a statement.  [Citing cases.]

Most law enforcement agencies, including those in Nevada, have adopted policies and procedures governing the recording of custodial interrogations, even in the absence of a legal mandate.  On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice adopted a new policy establishing “a presumption that the custodial statement of an individual in a place of detention with suitable recording equipment, following arrest but prior to initial appearance, will be electronically recorded” (Subject to certain exceptions.

The presiding Justice of the NV Advisory Committee stated that the newly formed NV Commission on Statewide Rules of Criminal Procedure would add this matter to its agenda.  That Commission was created to address a lack of uniformity of criminal procedure rules across the state.  The Commission membership is comprised of experienced legal professionals and members of the NV judiciary who are focused on examining key, criminal procedure concerns and making recommendations for improvement on a statewide level.