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New Illinois Law Aims to End Wrongful Convictions

Posted on in chicago

In 1993, Juan Rivera was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder and served 19 years before finally being freed. The court found that coercive interrogation methods used under the authority of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge led to the conviction. Now, a new state law hopes to put an end to wrongful criminal convictions in Illinois.

Illinois SB1006 requires that recordings be taken of interrogations as part of certain violent crime investigations. Any statements made by a suspect in cases covered under the law will be ruled inadmissible in court unless the interrogation is recorded via audio or video. The new requirements will be phased in over the next three years, according to the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange as follows:

  • June 1, 2014 – Aggravated arson and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
  • June 1, 2015 – Aggravated vehicular hijacking, home invasion, and aggravated kidnapping
  • June 1, 2016 – Aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and armed robbery.

The law is designed to offer some clarity in cases where police and suspects must recount their interrogation experiences in front of a jury. The new law will make it much more difficult for suspects to claim they were coerced, and police will be prevented from using overly-aggressive interrogation methods that may lead to a false confession. Overall, this new law provides for accountability on both sides of the table, and many lawmakers consider it to be a win-win step for both defendants and law enforcement officials.

If you have been accused of a crime and are wondering how this new law may affect your case, contact one of our qualified Illinois criminal defense attorneys today for a consultation. We can navigate the complexities of the law and ensure that you receive the fair representation in court that you deserve, no matter what crime you have been accused of.

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