The Dark Side of Visual Recording in the Suspect Interview: An Empirical and Experiential Study of the Unexpected Impact of Video Images
- 37 Downloads
The video-recording of police interrogations of suspects has become widespread in criminal justice systems and is routinely regarded by legal professionals and lay people alike as a means of protecting the rights of suspects and reducing the likelihood of coerced or false confessions. This study, based on evidence from Japan and experiments conducted in Tokyo as well as cases and reinforced by studies from elsewhere, finds that the way visual images of suspects and their narratives are depicted on film can, on the contrary, be misleading. Not only lay participants in trials, but also legal professionals, may be misled into accepting unreliable confessions. Indeed the very power of visual images to convince viewers calls for great caution in their use. Possible solutions include the use of independent expert witnesses to evaluate the reliability of visual recordings and the restriction of taped evidence to audio tracks.
KeywordsEvidence False confession Police interview Video images Wrongful conviction
- 1.Nozawa, Hisashi. 2000. The Malice of Static. Tokyo: Kōdansha.Google Scholar
- 2.Silbey, Jessica. 2007. Criminal Performances: Film, Autobiography, and Confession. New Mexico Law Review 37: 189.Google Scholar
- 3.Sullivan, T. 2014. Arguing for Statewide Uniformity in Recording Custodial Interrogations. Criminal Justice 29: 1.Google Scholar
- 4.Baldwin, J., and J. Bedward. 1991. Summarizing Tape Recordings of Police Interviews. Criminal Law Review 671.Google Scholar
- 5.Westling, W., and V. Waye. 1998. Videotaping Police Interrogation: Lessons from Australia. American Journal of Criminal Law 25: 493.Google Scholar
- 6.Rowan, J. 1992. Electronic Recording of Police Interviews in New Zealand (II). New Zealand Law Journal 400.Google Scholar
- 7.Johnson, D. 2008. You Don’t Need A Weather Man to Know Which Way the Wind Blows: Lessons from the United States and South Korea for Recording Interrogations in Japan. Ritsumeikan Law Review 25: 141.Google Scholar
- 8.Zhu, K., and D.M. Siegel. 2015. Electronic Recording of Custodial Interrogations with Chinese Characteristics: Tool for Transparency or Torture? Hong Kong Law Journal 45: 795.Google Scholar
- 9.Japan Times. 2016. Problematic Criminal Justice Reform. June 1, 2016. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/06/01/editorials/problematic-criminal-justice-reforms/#.V8ZC0LXDnNE. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 10.Sullivan, T. 2004. The Police Experience: Recording Custodial Interrogation. Champion 28: 24.Google Scholar
- 11.Prisoners Action Group. 1981. Will Video Stop Verbals? Current Issues of Criminal Justice 1: 79.Google Scholar
- 12.Ibusuki, Maokoto. 2010. ‘Quo Vadis?’: First Year Inspection to Japanese Mixed Jury Trial. Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal 12: 24.Google Scholar
- 13.ABS CBN News. 2016. Japanese Man Gets Life Sentence Over Murder of 7-Years-Old Girl, April 8, 2016.Google Scholar
- 14.Japan Times. 2016. Tochigi Court Accepts Murder Confession as Evidence Despite Coercion Claims, March 18, 2016.Google Scholar
- 15.The Mainichi. 2016. Recorded Confession Decisive Factor in Tochigi Child Murder Case, April 9, 2016. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160409/p2a/00m/0na/008000c. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 16.Hirayama, Mari. 2016. The Imaichi-Case Trial was Touchstone or Not: Important Problems Recognized from the Trial Observation. Legal Seminar [Hōgaku Seminā] August 2016, 1.Google Scholar
- 17.Igarashi, Futaba. 2016. New Cause of Miscarriage of Justice Shown in the Imaichi Trial. Kikan Keiji Bengo [Criminal Defense Quarterly Magazine] 85: 159.Google Scholar
- 18.International Bar Association. 2003. Interrogation of Criminal Suspects in Japan—The Introduction of Electronic Recording. https://www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/HRI_Publications/Country_reports.aspx. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 19.The Independent. 2016. Brendan Dassey: Why was He Convicted in the First Place? August 13, 2016. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/brendan-dassey-why-was-he-convicted-making-a-murderer-netflix-a7188121.html. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 20.Court of Appeals Decision in Wisconsin v. Brendan Dassey (2010AP3105-CR). https://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seqNo=92079. Accessed 24 July 2019.
- 21.ABC News. 2016. ‘Making a Murderer’: The Complicated Argument Over Brendan Dassey’s Confession, March 8, 2016. http://abcnews.go.com/US/making-murderer-complicated-argument-brendan-dasseys-confession/story?id=37353929. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 22.Chicago Tribune. 2016. ‘Making a Murderer’ Raises a Question About Interrogation Technique from Chicago, January 7, 2016. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-reid-confession-technique-met-20160106-story.html. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 23.Lassiter, G.D., L.J. Ware, M.J. Lindverg, and J.J. Ratcliff. 2010. Videotaping Custodial Interrogations: Toward a Scientifically Based Policy. In Police Interrogations and False Confessions, ed. G.D. Lassiter and C.A. Meissner, 143–155. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 24.Wakabayashi, K., M. Ibusuki, K. Komatsu, and T. Sato. 2012. Video Recorded Confession: Impact from the Video Image in Japan. Law and Psychology 12: 89.Google Scholar
- 25.New Zealand Police. 2005. Investigative Interviewing: The Literature, 86.Google Scholar
- 26.New York Division of Criminal Justice Service. 2013. Recording of Custodial Interrogations Model Policy, VIII H. Google Scholar
- 27.Portal of Nichibenren [Japan Federation of Bar Associations]. 2011. http://www.nichibenren.or.jp/activity/document/opinion/year/2011/111215_8.html. Accessed July 1, 2018 (in Japanese).
- 28.Silbey, Jessica. 2007. Criminal Performances: Film, Autobiography, and Confessions. New Mexico Law Review 37: 189.Google Scholar
- 29.University of Missouri-Kansas City. 2018. The Trial of Bernhard Goetz: Goetz’s Videotaped Confession. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/goetz/goetzconfession.html. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 30.Råstam, Hannes. 2012. Thomas Quick: The Making of a Serial Killer (trans: Henning Koch). Edinburgh: Canongate Books.Google Scholar
- 31.Dahlman, Christian, Lena Wahlberg, and Farhan Sarwar. 2015. Robust Trust in Expert Testimony. Humana. Mente Journal of Philosophical Studies 28: 17–37.Google Scholar
- 32.Nichibenren [Japan Federation of Bar Associations]. 2018. Efforts to Improve Criminal Procedures. http://www.nichibenren.or.jp/en/about/activities/criminal.html. Accessed July 1, 2018.
- 34.Dixon, David. 2006. Regulating Police Interrogation. In Investigative Interviewing: Rights, research, Regulation, ed. Tom Williamson, 318–351. Milton: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar