Do Video Recordings Help Jurors Recognize Coercive Influences in Interrogations?

Criminal Juries in the 21st Century. Edited by Cynthia Janis Najdowski & Margaret C. Stevenson, Forthcoming

Posted: 1 Feb 2018

See all articles by Iris Blandon-Gitlin

Iris Blandon-Gitlin

California State University, Fullerton

Amelia Mindthoff

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Arts & Sciences

Date Written: January 24, 2018

Abstract

In recognition of the role that false confessions play in wrongful convictions, it has been recommended that criminal interrogations be video recorded from beginning to end to document the process by which suspects decide to confess. With a full video recording, it is assumed that jurors can see for themselves whether the defendant was coerced to confess to a crime he or she did not commit. Yet, research suggests that video recording may in fact induce bias in interpretations of coercion and confession reliability, as factors like camera angles and close-ups can make confession evidence too vivid and persuasive. Without proper interpretation, even seemingly neutral recordings may unduly influence jurors’ decisions about confessions. We review the literature on the usefulness of video recorded interrogations in assisting jury decision making, as well as the potential for procedural safeguards (e.g., expert testimony) to improve jurors’ understanding of the issues at hand.

Keywords: Video recording, interrogations, confessions, camera perspective bias, coercion, voluntariness, jury decision making

Suggested Citation

Blandon-Gitlin, Iris and Mindthoff, Amelia, Do Video Recordings Help Jurors Recognize Coercive Influences in Interrogations? (January 24, 2018). Criminal Juries in the 21st Century. Edited by Cynthia Janis Najdowski & Margaret C. Stevenson, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3108617

Iris Blandon-Gitlin (Contact Author)

California State University, Fullerton ( email )

800 N State College St
Fullerton, CA 92831
United States

Amelia Mindthoff

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Arts & Sciences ( email )

Miami, FL
United States

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