NIMJ has posted an important news article about NCIS’s consideration of a policy to require the taping of interrogations. Here is a link.
Interestingly, an NCIS spokesperson says, “Our current policy is the same as other federal law enforcement agencies — recording of interviews is neither required nor prohibited.” If it is true that NCIS has no policy against recording interrogations, that is in itself a step in the right direction. In 1996, the NCIS Special Agent who interrogated a suspect in a homicide case understood that his agency prohibited recording interrogations. In the case of United States v. Quintanilla, Special Agent Bolden testified that he had not taped his interrogation of Sergeant Quintanilla, but NCIS had videotaped a walk-through of the crime scene. Record at 187-88. The defense counsel then asked, “So although NCIS can go through and videotape the crime scene, it couldn’t videotape the interrogation?” Id. SA Bolden replied:
That’s a totally different situation, sir. I don’t know the rules and regulations on it. I would have to check with Headquarters to be sure. We have – over my 17 years of law enforcement I have never been given permission to do that by our legal people at Headquarters nor have we conducted any type of interviews on videotape, with the exception of child abuse cases, sir.
Several states and localities have adopted the eminently reasonable requirement that stationhouse interrogations in serious felony cases be recorded. Illinois, for example, has a statute that treats stationhouse confessions as presumptively inadmissible for certain offenses unless they were recorded. 725 ILCS 5/103-2.1. The sponsor of Senate Bill 15 that led to this statute? State Senator Obama.
Can anyone fill us in on OSI, CID, and CGIS policy on recording interrogations?