"The Importance of Taping Interrogations," is the New York Times editorial.
In fact, false or coerced confessions are disturbingly common. In almost 30 percent of cases where convictions were later overturned because of DNA evidence, the defendant gave a false confession or other statement. Police and other law enforcement officials have long resisted recording interrogations, but that resistance is ebbing as the benefits become clear.
For police, it is insurance against claims of coercion or mistreatment. For prosecutors, it saves resources by encouraging plea deals. For innocent defendants, it can prevent wrongful convictions. And, of course, it protects the public by ensuring that the right people are charged and convicted.
About 850 police agencies around the country now voluntarily record most or all interrogations, according to the Innocence Project. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation requiring recording, and courts in seven more have either required or encouraged it. In May, the Justice Department announced that the F.B.I. and other federal law enforcement agencies would begin recording interrogations in most cases.