Wednesday, March 01, 2017


Right now in Florida when a law enforcement officer faces an internal disciplinary investigation or hearing he has the right to demand that the entire hearing be recorded. Yet that same officer while investigating a possible crime need not record any interrogations with a criminal suspect. Kind of interesting that officers value their own rights when their jobs may be at stake more than the rights of Floridians one reason why as a rule a suspect should not make a statement to police investigating a crime.

Let's get something straight all interrogations and interviews between law enforcement officers and anyone under investigation should be recorded. Only officers who intentionally want to hide evidence would ever fail to record conversations. Instead of recordings what we often get in Florida criminal courtrooms is a travesty of justice. An officer testifies to what he or she remembers a defendant may have said months earlier without any verification. It's not unusual for officers to give conflicting reasons as to why no recordings of interview are made.

Officers say they don't want to intimidate a defendant with a recording device though the fact that the officer is armed and may be intimidating with his firearm is apparently fine. Officers habitually state that there was no need to record a defendant's statement since another officer was in the room taking notes, the bias of that officer unquestionable. 

Officers contend that no recordings are needed because they have no reason to lie about what the defendant says when in fact officers are often biased and have even been proven to have perjured themselves while testifying. One former DEA agent was even sent to prison after demanding $700,000 from the family of a drug trafficker he'd arrested. Would his statements as to admissions in interrogations from the drug trafficker be unbiased, fair and impartial?

But officers don't like us to know the truth. And one of those truths is that in our flawed Florida criminal justice system cops often obtain false confessions by telling lies and giving false information during interrogations. And that law enforcement officers do not have to tell the truth when questioning suspects about a crime. By allowing these base prevarications judges and prosecutors shouldn't be surprised when other lies leak into the system to the point that confessions can't be relied on unless they're recorded.

Clearly, recording the complete and unedited conversations of investigating law enforcement officers not only keeps the officers honest but presents an accurate portrayal of what happened during the interrogation and why it happened. It also makes the case stronger against the defendant if it's clear that any statements made were made freely and voluntarily.

Although Florida lawmakers may soon change the law to require police in felony cases to record all interviews with Defendants, it's not enough to protect the rights of Floridians. Clearly all suspects for any criminal activity felony or misdemeanor should be recorded for timeless evidence of what was said. But take a defense lawyer's advice and remember that you don't need to ever make a statement to an officer.

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