SCS/SB 304 - Current law requires custodial interrogations be recorded when feasible. This act requires law enforcement agencies to document instances when recording an interrogation is not feasible.
Under current law, custodial interrogation is defined as the questioning of a person who is under arrest. This act specifies that custodial interrogation is the questioning of a person suspected of committing a crime who is in custody in a fixed place of detention.
Current law allows law enforcement officers to not record custodial interrogations when the suspect requests the interrogation not be recorded, exigent circumstances prevent recording, when the suspect makes spontaneous statements, or the equipment fails or is not available at the location of the interrogation. The exemption for instances in which the suspect requests the interrogation not be recorded is repealed under this act. In addition, this act provides that, if the equipment fails or is not available, the law enforcement agency must demonstrate a good faith effort to maintain recording equipment for interrogations to be in compliance with the statute. If the interrogation is not recorded due to exigent circumstances or because the statements were spontaneous, the law enforcement agency must make a written record detailing the circumstances surrounding the failure to record.
In addition, this act repeals the current penalty for failure to comply with the statute that allows the governor to withhold funding from the noncompliant law enforcement agency and a provision that prohibits compliance with the statute from being raised in a criminal trial.
The jury must be instructed that it may consider credible evidence of compliance or noncompliance with the recording requirements to determine whether the defendant's statement was voluntary and reliable.
This act also requires the preservation of recordings of interrogations until the offender can no longer appeal a conviction or when prosecution of the offense is barred by law.
This act contains provisions similar to provisions of SB 732 (2014) and SB 162 (2013).
The provisions of this act take effect January 1, 2017.