Summary: It is not unusual for police to try to trick people into a confession by claiming they know something that they don’t. The Police Deception Prohibition Act prevents police from tricking juveniles into confessions because minors are about three times more likely than adults to falsely confess.
Model based on, although not identical to, Illinois SB 2122 (2021), which is the first legislature to pass such a bill.
Findings based on the Innocence Project.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Police Deception Prohibition Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature/council finds that:
1) It is not unusual for police to use deceptive interrogation tactics, such as making false claims about the existence of incriminating evidence as well as false promises of leniency.
2) Such deception significantly increases the risk of false confessions, which have played a role in about 30 percent of all wrongful convictions overturned by DNA.
3) Recent studies find that juveniles are about three times more likely to falsely confess than adults.
4) Other western countries, like Great Britain, have more effective interrogation techniques than lying, and our police should adopt those.
5) The police technique of lying during interrogations has the additional disadvantage of breaking down trust between law enforcement officers and the community, and that lack of community cooperation makes policing much less effective.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to protect public safety by focusing on the guilty instead of the innocent and helping to improve trust of law enforcement officers by the community.
SECTION 3. POLICE DECEPTION DURING INTERROGATION OF JUVENILES PROHIBITED
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) DEFINITIONS—In this section:
1) “Custodial interrogation” means any interrogation during which a reasonable person in the subject’s position would consider himself or herself to be in custody and during which a question is asked that is reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.
2) “Deception” means the knowing communication of false facts about evidence or unauthorized statements regarding leniency to a subject of custodial interrogation.
[3) “Place of detention” means a building or a police station that is a place of operation for a police or sheriff’s department or other law enforcement agency, or another building at which persons are or may be held in detention in connection with criminal charges or allegations that those persons are delinquent minors.] NOTE: This law could be restricted to a place of detention, or not.
(B) PROHIBITION OF DECEPTIVE TACTICS
1) An oral, written, or sign language confession of a person who at the time of the commission of the offense was under 18 years of age, made as a result of a custodial interrogation [conducted at a place of detention], shall be presumed to be inadmissible as evidence against the person making the confession in a criminal or a juvenile court proceeding if an agent of the government engages in deception.
2) The presumption of inadmissibility of a confession by a suspect during a custodial interrogation [at a place of detention], when such confession followed a deception, may be overcome by a preponderance of the evidence that (a) the deception played no role in obtaining the confession, and (b) the confession was voluntarily given, based on the totality of the circumstances.
3) The burden of going forward with the evidence and the burden of proving that a confession was voluntary and not the result of a deception shall be on the State. Objection to the failure of the State to call all material witnesses on the issue of whether the confession was voluntary must be made in the trial court.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on July 1, 202X.