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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: August 4, 2021 11:05 AM
From: Representative Liz Hanbidge
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibiting Deceptive Interrogation Practices being used against those with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism
A leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States are false confessions secured through deceptive interrogation tactics.  Individuals with intellectual disabilities and/or Autism have greater vulnerability to deception interrogation by law enforcement.  
In Atkins v. Virginia (2002) the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that people with intellectual disability are at higher risk for wrongful convictions and are more likely to falsely confess to crimes they did not commit. Coerced-internalized false confessions, where a person confesses to a crime he or she did not commit, due to deceptive interrogation tactics by law enforcement, put not only the accused at risk but undermine the sanctity of our judicial system.   
Wrongly convicted people who are eventually exonerated, on average, spend approximately 11 years incarcerated.  This is not without cost: there are mental, emotional and physical costs to those erroneously convicted. There are also significant monetary costs to taxpayers.   
This legislation seeks to prevent deceptive interrogation tactics from being used on individuals with autism and/or intellectual disabilities, thus reducing the number of false convictions, saving money and ensuring equality and dignity to all.  Confessions made due to such tactics would become inadmissible in court, unless the state can prove that the confession was voluntarily given.  By implementing fair, honest interrogation processes by those most susceptible to falsely confess will be better protected from deceptive practices.   
As state legislators, we must continue to strive for an equitable and forward-thinking criminal justice system. Please join me in pushing for the protections our constituents need.   

Introduced as HB1999