A significant change now takes place in the Illinois criminal justice system. The long and troubling practice of police officers being allowed to lie to juveniles during an interrogation comes to an end. Young persons and adults alike sometimes incriminate themselves after the police deceive them. From now on, law enforcement personnel must be more honest with underage suspects.
The governor signs a new and sweeping bill
Effective on Jan. 1, 2022, a bill signed by Gov. Pritzker makes it unlawful for the police to lie to a juvenile during an interrogation. Deception long remained a common tactic by police to sway a suspect to say something incriminating. And yes, “deception” includes outright lying.
Lies come in many forms. The police could claim a witness saw the young person commit a crime even when no such witness exists or, for that matter, the suspect didn’t do anything wrong. Frightened or confused suspects could confess to felonies they didn’t commit and serve lengthy prison sentences.
If the police violate the law, their illegal actions could render any confessions or statements inadmissible. While criminal justice reform advocates may appreciate the new law, other concerns exist.
The police and deception
What happens if the police use deceptive tactics outside the formal interrogation process? An officer could get someone to say something incriminating when “only talking” with the person and long before the suspect is arrested.
And what happens if the police don’t follow the law and procure a confession? An attorney would have to challenge the evidence in court. Ultimately, invoking one’s right to remain silent and have an attorney present for any questions may be vital.