Illinois OKs bill banning police deception to young suspects

Illinois became the first state Sunday to pass a bill that will ban police from lying to youth during interrogations -- a practice that adds significantly to the risk of false confessions and wrongful convictions. It is expected to be signed into law by the governor in coming weeks.

Posted: May 31, 2021 3:06 PM

Springfield, Ill. (AP) — Illinois became the first state Sunday to pass a bill that will ban police from lying to youth during interrogations -- a practice that adds significantly to the risk of false confessions and wrongful convictions. It is expected to be signed into law by the governor in coming weeks.

The original sponsors, state Senator Robert Peters and state Representative Justin Slaughter, garnered bipartisan support for the bill that culminated in a near-unanimous vote to pass it in both houses. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, a Republican and former Chicago prosecutor, joined as a co-sponsor and helped propel the bill’s passage.

“I’ll never be accused of being soft on crime, but I’m more interested in seeking the truth than a conviction,” Durkin said. “I believe in fair play. We should never tolerate, under any circumstance, the use of deception to seek a statement or an admission by any defendant, let alone a juvenile.”

Though few Americans realize it, police regularly deceive suspects during questioning to try to secure confessions, from saying DNA placed them at the scene of a crime to claiming eyewitnesses identified them as being the perpetrator. Detectives also can lie about the consequences of confessing, saying, for instance, that admitting responsibility is a quick ticket home.

Minors -- who have been found to be two to three times more likely to confess to crimes they didn’t commit -- are especially vulnerable to such pressure tactics, said Laura Nirider, co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, who consulted on the bill together with the national Innocence Project and the Illinois Innocence Project.

Though it is currently legal for police in all 50 states to lie during interrogations, Oregon and New York are considering similar legislation, said Rebecca Brown, policy director at the national Innocence Project.

The Oregon bill, sponsored by a former law enforcement officer, passed the House this week and heads next to the Senate.

A bill still pending in New York would apply to adults as well as minors. There, deceptive interrogation techniques have contributed to several infamous juvenile wrongful convictions, including 15-year-old Yusef Salaam of the so-called Central Park Five, now also known as the Exonerated Five. The five Black and Latino teens were coerced into confessing to a rape they didn’t commit in 1989 and served prison time before being exonerated in 2002.

Illinois has in recent years uncovered at least 100 wrongful convictions predicated on false confessions, 31 of them involving people under 18 years of age.

Senate Bill 2122 was supported not only by individuals who themselves falsely confessed to crimes, but also by the state’s Chiefs of Police, the Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Association, and the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

“The history of false confessions in Illinois can never be erased, but this legislation is a critical step to ensuring that history is never repeated,” Foxx said in a press release. “I hope this is a start to rebuilding confidence and trust in a system that has done harm to so many people for far too long.”

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1413490

Reported Deaths: 25847
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook56254010557
DuPage936411321
Will779841042
Lake691321026
Kane60062816
Winnebago34671524
Madison32372533
St. Clair29976526
McHenry29561299
Peoria23690346
Champaign21566158
Sangamon19585245
McLean18846194
Tazewell17470308
Rock Island15375329
Kankakee14741224
Kendall13481100
LaSalle12954254
Macon11177215
DeKalb10270122
Vermilion10224154
Adams9557128
Williamson8117138
Whiteside7244174
Boone693380
Ogle629184
Grundy605579
Clinton590693
Coles5868101
Knox5728157
Jackson543565
Henry515270
Macoupin497090
Livingston494193
Woodford491883
Stephenson488086
Franklin485878
Effingham482674
Marion4761118
Jefferson4662123
Monroe451494
Randolph430387
Lee423754
Morgan412592
Fulton410559
Logan407066
Christian394275
Bureau384987
Montgomery384274
Iroquois329468
Perry328262
Fayette326856
McDonough305851
Jersey278752
Saline270657
Douglas263536
Union249041
Lawrence244627
Shelby235938
Crawford218026
Bond213624
Cass210327
Carroll204837
Pike200353
Ford194050
Hancock193732
Clark190434
Wayne189653
Warren186450
Jo Daviess183524
Richland181440
White180226
Edgar179742
Washington169225
Moultrie167928
Mason163547
De Witt161129
Piatt155814
Johnson154516
Clay154043
Greene152834
Mercer151734
Wabash147612
Massac143240
Cumberland131019
Menard127912
Jasper116818
Marshall110319
Hamilton89516
Schuyler8127
Brown8086
Pulaski7407
Stark66425
Edwards63512
Calhoun5382
Henderson53414
Gallatin5044
Scott5031
Putnam4943
Alexander48911
Hardin39612
Pope3394
Unassigned632432
Out of IL120

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 767409

Reported Deaths: 13980
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1054251805
Lake569191030
Allen42938698
St. Joseph37313568
Hamilton37298426
Elkhart29749470
Tippecanoe23479230
Vanderburgh23201405
Porter19573327
Johnson18822392
Hendricks18072321
Madison13548346
Clark13533198
Vigo12834256
LaPorte12566225
Monroe12546178
Delaware11143198
Howard10672237
Kosciusko9777124
Hancock8740150
Bartholomew8262157
Warrick8069157
Floyd8027182
Grant7366181
Wayne7233201
Boone7184105
Morgan6910143
Marshall6332116
Dubois6274118
Cass6090111
Dearborn601278
Noble599290
Henry5947111
Jackson516377
Shelby510898
Lawrence4922127
Gibson462696
Montgomery458192
Clinton455255
DeKalb455285
Harrison453577
Whitley415745
Huntington415582
Steuben410660
Miami405573
Jasper401155
Knox388391
Putnam385062
Wabash369083
Adams352956
Ripley351271
Jefferson341886
White339654
Daviess3090100
Wells303581
Greene293485
Decatur292593
Fayette286364
Posey281735
Scott280058
LaGrange277572
Clay273348
Washington254037
Randolph247783
Jennings239449
Spencer238731
Fountain235250
Starke229859
Owen222659
Sullivan221343
Fulton208345
Jay202932
Carroll197322
Orange191156
Perry189739
Vermillion180844
Rush177527
Tipton172747
Franklin171935
Parke155216
Pike141734
Blackford138032
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
Benton109715
Brown106043
Crawford105616
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8348
Union73610
Ohio58111
Unassigned0428