Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a new bill into law Thursday barring police from lying to underage kids during interrogations.
Commonly used interrogation tactics, such as promising leniency or insinuating that incriminating evidence exists, are banned when questioning suspects younger than 18 under the new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1.
According to the Innocence Project, an organization focused on exonerating wrongly convicted people, those types of interrogation methods have been shown to lead to false confessions. They've also played a role in about 30% of all wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA.
This means that — until 2021! — it was perfectly legal in every US state for police to lie to minors (which gives me flashbacks to the tragic interrogation of Brendan Dassey, as shown in Making a Murderer). As NPR notes, there are other states trying to pass bills that offer the same protections to minors, or else to outlaw deceptive police interrogation tactics entirely.
The fact that we have to explicitly forbid police from intentionally manipulating and deceiving children speaks volumes about the underlying issues.
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