Illinois police will most likely be banned from lying to juveniles during interrogations, well liked practice that significantly increases the risk of false confessions and wrongful convictions, after state lawmakers passed on Sunday bill on prohibiting such practices that is now waiting to be signed into law, The Hill writes.
Illinois became first U.S. state to pass such a bill after garnering bipartisan support, according to the Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization that works to exonerate those it believes to have been wrongfully convicted, although New York and Oregon have introduced similar bills.
Rebecca Brown, director of policy at the Innocence Project, said that this historic legislation is a breakthrough in safeguarding against the wrongful convictions of young people that are often prone to confess out of fear, coercion, or desperation when deceptive tactics are used during an interrogation.
According to Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director at the Illinois Innocence Project, about one-third of wrongful convictions based on false confessions in Illinois have involved minors.
If Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs it into law, it will prohibit the use of deception – defined as knowingly providing false information about evidence or leniency- as a means of coercing information out of minors and confessions made under such circumstances would be inadmissible in court.
The sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Robert Peters (D), said that minors are easily influenced while being questioned by law enforcement and that acting out of fear may affect their actions. He added that police should not be able to deceive youths in order to push its own narratives.