Cruz proposes bill to ban deceptive tactics in police interrogations

HARRISBURG, Sept. 7 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., has proposed a bill that would ban deceptive tactics in police interrogations.

Under state law, police officers are permitted to use deceptive tactics to secure a confession or incriminating statement. Practices that attempt to get suspects to confess to a crime, even if they didn’t commit one, have become commonplace during custodial interrogations. This is due to the assumption that only the guilty would confess.

“My legislation would prohibit law enforcement officers from using deceptive interrogation tactics against any individual suspected of a crime. No innocent suspect should be pressured into confessing to a crime they didn’t commit,” said Cruz.

According to The Innocence Project, more than 30% of wrongful convictions that have been overturned by DNA evidence as a result of false confessions, were attributed largely to deceptive interrogation tactics.

Cruz said that deceptive tactics do not ensure that any statement provided by the accused is valid.

"Presenting false information and misleading a suspect can lead to the accused admitting to a crime they did not commit," he said, pointing to the recent case where three Philadelphia cops were charged for their role in the wrongful conviction of Anthony Wright.

Wright was falsely convicted of rape and served a 25-year sentence. One of the factors that led to Wright’s conviction was that he signed a confession paper, because the cops told him that he would only be allowed to go home if he signed it.