CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, February 9, 2018

Blandon-Gitlin & Mindthoff on Videotaped Interrogations

Iris Blandon-Gitlin and Amelia Mindthoff (California State University, Fullerton and Florida International University (FIU) - College of Arts & Sciences) have posted an abstract of Do Video Recordings Help Jurors Recognize Coercive Influences in Interrogations? (Criminal Juries in the 21st Century. Edited by Cynthia Janis Najdowski & Margaret C. Stevenson, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In recognition of the role that false confessions play in wrongful convictions, it has been recommended that criminal interrogations be video recorded from beginning to end to document the process by which suspects decide to confess. With a full video recording, it is assumed that jurors can see for themselves whether the defendant was coerced to confess to a crime he or she did not commit. Yet, research suggests that video recording may in fact induce bias in interpretations of coercion and confession reliability, as factors like camera angles and close-ups can make confession evidence too vivid and persuasive. Without proper interpretation, even seemingly neutral recordings may unduly influence jurors’ decisions about confessions. We review the literature on the usefulness of video recorded interrogations in assisting jury decision making, as well as the potential for procedural safeguards (e.g., expert testimony) to improve jurors’ understanding of the issues at hand.

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