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Politics & Government

Amended recorded police interrogation bill approved by lawmakers

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Joe Irizarry
/
Delaware Public Media

The House passes legislation requiring police interrogations be recorded.

 

The amended legislation which was unanimously passed in the Senate - cleared the House again without any dissent.

The bill calls for recording interrogations to remove doubt, ensure a fair process, and to protect the police and person in custody.

There are a few exceptions to recording, and the bill originally had a provision that unrecorded interrogations are inadmissible without clear proof of an exemption.

The bill’s sponsor State Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown (D-New Castle South) explains how a Senate amendment changes that provision.

"The amendment lowers the burden of proof from clear and convincing to a preponderance to prove that one of the exceptions to recording occurred. Lowering the burden of proof standard to a preponderance of the evidence is more in line with other states and is more closely aligned with the Uniform Law Commission," said Minor-Brown. "When an exception cannot be proven to have occurred, unrecorded statements may still be admitted as evidence."

The lack of recording can be considered by the court for admissibility, and the defense can argue to the jury a lack of compliance of the statute.

Minor-Brown says another change had to do with recordings not done by body cameras.

"In a place of detention a recording device other than a body worn camera must be simultaneously focused on both the law enforcement officer and the individual subject to the custodial interrogation," said Minor-Brown.

The legislation now heads to Gov. Carney.

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