Honesty Is the Best Policy: A Case for the Limitation of Deceptive Police Interrogation Practices in the United States
In the United States, police officers regularly employ deceptive interrogation tactics to extract confession evidence from suspects. Despite widespread recognition of the harm caused by police deception, courts in the United States have consistently condoned the practice, refusing to exclude confessions obtained through manipulative and deceitful means. The British Parliament has recognized that deceptive police practices yield false confessions and, thus, wrongful convictions. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 addresses this concern by establishing clear rules for the police to follow and by empowering courts to enforce those rules. In evaluating the need for reform in American police interrogation policy, English law provides a valuable model for comparison. Taking a cue from the English, this Note proposes the creation of a new legislative framework focused on the reliability of confession evidence. The Note will argue that the new law should include guidelines for the police to follow in conducting interrogations and that those guidelines should prohibit the types of deceptive practices that lead to unreliable results.