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Police Deceptions in Interrogations

WHEREAS, the NAACP seeks to promote the integrity and efficiency of the justice system in part by eliminating police deception during interrogations to prevent false confessions and subsequent wrongful convictions of people, especially minors; and

WHEREAS, to establish a more acceptable interrogation tactic than the condemned, physical abuse tactic known as the "third degree," police deception (formally referred to as the ''Reid Technique") emerged as the standard form of interrogation in the 1950s, being implemented in most, if not all, police jurisdictions in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court and state courts have upheld the use of police deceptions in interrogations, permitting police to present false evidence to suspects during interrogation to mislead and deceive them to extract confessions while failing to carve out any significant limitations or bright-line rules for police to observe; and

WHEREAS, false confessions are a leading cause of wrongful conviction in the United States. More than two-thirds of the convictions in DNA-cleared homicide cases documented by the Innocence Project were caused by false confessions; and

WHEREAS,the lying, coercion, and manipulation inherent in police deception, combined with the "recognized vulnerabilities and susceptibilities" of minors as a group, have led to an "unacceptably high rate of false confessions among juvenile suspects" who studies have shown are two to three times more likely to give a false confession than adults; and

WHEREAS, in 2021, Illinois and Oregon became the first states in the country to enact legislation banning police from lying to minors during interrogations. Similarly, New York has endeavored to ban this practice not only when interrogating minors, but when interrogating adults as well; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP should continue its effort to seek passage of anti-deception legislation in all 50states.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP advocate for all anti-deception legislation should be written to protect both minors and adults from the use of deception tactics during interrogation pursuant to their rights under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution without any exigent circumstance exemptions.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP advocate that any anti­-deception legislation include statutory penalties against law enforcement officials found to violate the legislation in light of the economic burden wrongful convictions place on the citizenry.

Together Power Vote Hero - NAACP

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