Getting the Picture Right During Interrogations in Illinois - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Getting the Picture Right During Interrogations in Illinois

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Across the Quad Cities, police interview and interrogate criminal suspects everyday. 

In Illinois, some of those conversations will now have to be recorded. 

Moline police say they need to upgrade their recording equipment because what they have now, keeps failing. 

Now, that could be a problem.

On June 1, all departments in Illinois were required to start recording interviews in predatory criminal sexual assault, child pornography, and arson cases. 

More will be added to that list, something cops and prosecutors say will make putting a criminal behind bars, easier. 

"It takes the guesswork out of the crime for the jurors and a lot of times for the prosecution," says Detective Scott Williams with the Moline Police Department. We've never lost a case because of lost data but we've had complete interviews done with a suspect that when an investigator goes back, he's found it lost or gone or it's there but nobody has the means to retrieve it."     

Williams has been on the Moline force for 27 years.

He says interrogations have changed in his time, from no recordings, to just audio, to what they have today. 

And he adds that every step is a good one to keep criminals from trying to get away with something on the witness stand.

"Nothing is better to play back for the jury a defendants own words. When he confesses to a crime and explains why he did it," Williams explains.

Now that the laws are in effect, any interview that has to recorded and isn't will be presumed inadmissible in court. 

It can still be allowed in the prosecuting attorney can convince the judge that it should be allowed. 

Then the interrogating officer would have to take the stand, saying what happened in that room. 

Over the next couple of years, interrogations like aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery with a firearm will also have to be taped. 

Lawmakers wanted video proof for major crimes, because the suspect could spend decades in prison. 

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