Sunday, July 10, 2005
Due to the work of Wisconsin State Public Defender Eileen Hirsch, and a host of amicus briefs filed by, among others, Northwestern University’s Bluhm Legal Clinic and the Wisconsin Innocence Project, the Wisconsin Supreme Court exercised its superintending authority this week to require that all future custodial interrogations of juveniles be electronically recorded when feasible, and without exception when the interrogation occurs in a place of detention. Audio recordings meet the requirement, but video is preferable. The Court did not say what the decision means for custodial interrogations of adults (although one of the dissenting justices quoted Bob Dylan: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”). The decision makes Wisconsin the third state to have some form of judicially-mandated electronic recording (after Alaska and Minnesota). A few state legislatures, including Illinois, New Mexico, and Maine, have recently taken action on electronic recording, and a number of others have bills pending.