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New law requires felony interrogations be video recorded

Law enforcement agencies across New York State are now required to video record interrogations of people accused of most serious non-drug felonies, such as homicide and sexual assault.

A new state law that went into effect Apr. 1 requires police agencies to record all custodial interrogations that occur in police stations, jails, prosecutor's offices and holding areas and involve serious non-drug felonies. The new law states that failure to record interrogations in such cases could end up in a court determining a confession is inadmissible as evidence.

The measure was passed by the state Legislature last year and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He said the video recording law will ensure the reliability of evidence that's later presented at trial and guard against false confessions.

The Innocence Project applauded the law.

"This is a critical reform that offers robust protections to the innocent by creating a clear record of what transpired in the interrogation room," said Director Rebecca Brown. "The Innocence Project also supports careful study of implementation efforts to assess the degree of uniformity in practice, the feasibility of expanding the crime categories for which recording is required over time and the reliability of various interrogation methods. In this way, the tremendous reform effort that has just begun to take hold can continue to be improved upon in the future."

The governor's office also said that since 2011, New York has provided more than $4.15 million to approximately 365 police agencies and prosecutors' offices across the state for the purchase and installation of video-recording equipment.

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