Illinois, first US state to ban police officers from lying to underage suspects

published on Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 9:22 p.m.

Illinois on Thursday became the first US state to prohibit its police officers from lying when questioning minors.

Democratic Governor JB Pritzker has signed a law, which will come into force in 2022, to put an end to a practice accused of increasing the risk of false confessions and therefore of judicial errors.

The confessions of children and adolescents obtained “by deception”, either by presenting erroneous facts or with false promises of clemency, will no longer be admissible during trials, according to this text.

“One of the essential principles of good governance is to recognize when to change laws that have served the public,” said the governor, quoted in a statement.

This reform, supported by police and prosecutor unions, “makes Illinois the first state in the country to prohibit law enforcement from using deceptive tactics when questioning young people,” according to the document.

Legal for decades in the United States, these interrogation methods have “led to an unacceptable rate of false confessions among minors,” who are more easily influenced, according to a study by the Law School of the University of New York. York published in 2017.

The National registry of exonerations, which compiles the records of people wrongly convicted and then cleared, estimates that 12% of the more than 2,800 cases in its database involved false confessions.

Among the most resounding cases is that of five black and Hispanic teenagers, who were convicted of the rape and attempted murder of a jogger in Central Park, in 1989 in New York, on the basis of confessions made to them. been ripped off with false promises of release.

The “Central Park Five” spent between six and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist admitted to assaulting the jogger and acting alone.

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