FBI to record interrogations starting July 11, 2014

For a variety of reasons a number of state and local law enforcement agencies have recorded custodial interrogations for some time. My former graduate student, Hayley Cleary ( now on the faculty of the Wilder School of Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University) completed her dissertation examining recorded interrogations of juvenile suspects from a number of jurisdictions across the country. Attorney General Holder has announced the FBI will also record interrogations in most circumstances. This should provide important protections for defendants as well as for law enforcement officials. It also potentially provides a tremendous research opportunity to crack open the black box of custodial interrogation and learn more about the interactions between law enforcement and suspects, including juvenile suspects. It's important to note that this applies to custodial interrogation, not all police questioning. So, we won't be able to capture anything that happens before arrest or when an arrest is not relevant, but this is an important step in the right direction.