Video Recording Juvenile Interrogations: Recently Enacted Legislation

New York has enacted a new law that will require the recording of juvenile interrogations in delinquency proceedings in Family Court. The bill was supported by the Juvenile Justice Committee (Jennifer Gilroy Ruiz & Maura Keating, Co-Chairs), Council on Children (Dawne Mitchell, Chair) and Children and the Law Committee (Melissa J. Friedman, Chair), in a letter to Governor Cuomo. The Committees argued that it is crucial to have a clear record of juvenile interrogations to ensure that they are legally, morally and ethically sound. Videotaping interrogations can yield a reliable, objective record of the police’s interview with the youth, which aids both the prosecution/presentment agency and the defense. Research illustrates that video recording does not reduce the amount of information suspects share with police. The law will also serve an important racial justice function, as the youth affected by current interrogation practices are overwhelmingly Black or Hispanic. Transparency in the investigation process is an especially critical need in systems where disparate minority contact is so clear. The new law will go into effect November 2021.