What is an unrecorded custodial interrogation?
In court, lawyers can present evidence that there was no recording of a complete interrogation. The Supreme Judicial Court prefers recorded interrogations of a person taken into custody. A custodial interrogation consists of questioning by law enforcement officers after being taken into custody. This depends on whether a reasonable person in the defendant’s shoes believes that they were not free to leave.
Will evidence of an unrecorded custodial interrogation help my case?
Ideally, jurors will weight a defendant’s alleged statements with great caution and care.
The reason for this is that the government may have had the ability to reliably record the totality of the circumstances upon which it asks jurors to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s statement was voluntary, but instead is asking the jury to rely on a summary of those circumstances drawn from the possibly fallible or selective memory of its witnesses.
The jury also considers any evidence concerning whether the defendant had opportunity for a recorded interrogation.
Do courts prefer that interrogations be recorded?
Yes, there is a preference for recordings during custodial interrogation.
Does a jury take into consideration if the defendant voluntarily made statements during an interrogation if it is recorded?
Yes, when a defendant is given the opportunity to have his or her interrogation recorded, the jury should be advised that they CAN consider whether the defendant voluntarily chose not to have a recording made.
Click here to read a Boston Globe article on Attorney Barabino’s role in the litigation of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case that resulted in the ruling that judges should begin instructing juries in criminal trials to be skeptical when police fail to tape-record confessions or statements made by defendants in custody.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
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