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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 7, 2021 02:16 PM
From: Representative Amen Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibiting Deceptive Juvenile Interrogations by Law Enforcement
One of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the United States is false confessions. In this country, confessions secured through deceptive police tactics are almost always revered as legal.  The Central Park Five, consisting of five Black and Latinx youth convicted due to police deception and eventually exonerated in 2002, is a notorious example of this. Law enforcement should not just be focused on getting a confession – they should be focused on getting the truth in order to get a conviction. Juveniles are a vulnerable group and should not be subjected to deceit and coercion during interrogation for crimes they are being accused of.

Research has shown that youth are about 3 times more likely to give a false confession compared to adults. Examples of these tactics used by law enforcement consist of dishonest claims about incriminating evidence against them and false promises of leniency if they confess. This practice is unjust and can cause harm to both their well-being and society overall.

I aim to change this and make Pennsylvania the second state in the country to ban deceptive police tactics during juvenile interrogations.  Following Illinois, my legislation would prohibit police at any level from using deception to coerce confessions out of juvenile offenders under the age of 18.  Confessions made due to such tactics would be inadmissible in court.
As state legislators, we must work together to give our young offenders the right to a fair trial.  Please join me in providing safer, more equitable protections against law enforcement deception in our juvenile justice system. 

Introduced as HB1669