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“A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS” “No Surprises, The Videotape Speaks and Shows, for Itself.” Major George Cadavid City of Miami Police Department.

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Presentation on theme: "“A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS” “No Surprises, The Videotape Speaks and Shows, for Itself.” Major George Cadavid City of Miami Police Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 “A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS” “No Surprises, The Videotape Speaks and Shows, for Itself.” Major George Cadavid City of Miami Police Department

2 Law enforcement has held a belief that only the guilty confess.

3 Jerry Townsend was once considered one of South Florida’s most prolific Serial Killers, a mentally disabled drifter, convicted of six murders and one rape dating back to 1973 through In 2001 DNA test exonerated him of two Broward County murders he had confessed to. He was eventually cleared of four Broward County murder convictions. On June 15, 2001, a Miami- Dade Judge, calling his sentence “an enormous tragedy”, vacated the remaining sentences for two murders and a rape, clearing the way for his release after 22 years in prison.

4 Jerry Townsend’s mental disability, his admiration for police and his willingness to help, led to false confessions for murders he did not commit. With an I.Q. of 58, Jerry Townsend has limited comprehension and is unable to grasp questions that are not extremely concrete.

5 ISSUES Jerry Townsend did not understand his Miranda Rights. The tape recording was repeatedly turned on and off. Jerry Townsend’s taped confession differed greatly from the physical evidence found on the scene.

6 Mental Illness and low IQ are the two main factors that frequently contribute to suspects making false confessions.

7 Trustworthiness of a Non-Recorded Confession Was the confession the defendant’s own statement or simply an acceptance of police suggestions? Was it the suspect or was it the police who first stated key facts about the case?

8 Traditional Mindset The interrogation room should be small, 8X10, free of windows and other unnecessary distractions. The suspect sits in a straight-back chair with no armrest. The detective invades the suspect’s “psychological space” and gets in his face, eyeball to eyeball, the interrogator controls everything. Then comes a choreographed onslaught of mounting pressure and accelerating questions designed to propel the guilty into confession. The psychological assault works so well that it sometimes extracts confessions from the innocent.

9 Until the 1980’s most confessions were recorded and presented in either a written or audiotape format. Today one third of the nation’s law enforcement agencies now videotape some interrogations.

10 Benefits Videotaping interrogations in its entirety can only enhance justice by limiting or ending the number of wrongful convictions obtained through forced confessions. Tax monies would be saved by reducing multimillion dollar awards in wrongful arrest lawsuits and police misconduct cases. Videotaped confessions can help reduce the time used to testify in court related suppression hearings, as well as the number of witnesses called to testify.

11 Videotaping interrogations in it’s entirety will… Dispel any issue involving Miranda Rights. Deter the use of coercive methods to induce confessions. Provide a more complete and objective record of the interrogation so that Judges and Jurors can evaluate more thoroughly and accurately the voluntariness and veracity of any confession.

12 Videotaping concerns: Exposure of interrogation tactics and the fear that some Juries might find them unacceptable. Extra expense on law enforcement. Several studies in the United States and England suggest the camera perspective has the potential to adversely affect the judgment of the suspect’s voluntariness.


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