Wbasny Chapters

2016 – A.9770-A / S.7082-A

Position Statement

A.9770-A / S.7082-A
Video Recording of Juvenile Interrogations

Support

The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) supports bills A.9770-A (Harris) and S.7082-A (Avella) amending the Family Court Act to require video recordings of interrogations of juveniles in juveniles delinquency proceedings in Family Court.

Both medical science and our everyday interactions support the fact that adolescents and juveniles do not make decisions in the same manner as adults with fully developed cognitive functions. Additionally, science has proven that adolescents have significant hormonal changes producing testosterone which increases aggression. Accordingly, because of this diminished capacity in adolescents, prosecutions in Family Court should employ heightened measures to ensure fair proceedings and avoid wrongful convictions.

The New York State Justice Task Force established by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman strongly supported electronic recordings of custodial interrogations of defendants in criminal proceedings. The Task Force and others experts state that recording interrogations reduces false confessions, enhances confidence in the system, aid judges and jurors and provides direct evidence of police conduct. Video recordings enable the trier of fact to better determine if a statement was coerced or even accurate. If recordings are the best practice to employ when interrogating adults, it simply follows that it is also the best practice when prosecuting juveniles who are more vulnerable and more likely to be influenced in interrogations.

WBASNY promotes the fair and equal administration of justice and therefore strongly supports this legislation.

1 Adolescence, Brain Development and Legal Culpability. American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center Janary 2004.
2 Id.
3 Recommendations Regarding Electronic Recording of Custodial Interrogations, New York State Justice Task Force (January 2012)