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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: August 19, 2021 12:44 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Banning Deceptive Tactics in Police Interrogations of All Individuals
Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system has many important safeguards to prevent the occurrence of wrongful convictions. Yet, our Commonwealth still does not protect innocent suspects from being misled into confessing to a crime they did not commit.  

Under state law, police officers are permitted to use deceptive tactics to secure a confession or incriminating statement. Practices such as untrue promises of leniency and the false existence of incriminating evidence have become commonplace during custodial interrogations, based on the assumption that only the guilty would confess. However, more than 30 percent of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence resulted from false confessions, contributed largely to deceptive interrogation tactics. Deceptive tactics cannot ensure that any statement provided by the accused is valid – presenting false information can alter a person’s memory for that event and, assuring leniency can mislead a suspect into believing that a confession is in their best interests.

My legislation will prohibit law enforcement officers from using deceptive interrogation tactics against any individual suspected of a crime. If a law enforcement officer uses deception during a custodial interrogation, all statements or confessions made by the defendant would be inadmissible in court. To appeal its inadmissibility, the prosecution would bear the full responsibility of proving that the statement was voluntarily provided and would have been disclosed by the defendant had deceptive tactics not been used.

Please join me in supporting this legislation to protect Pennsylvanians from forceful and deceptive interrogation techniques. No innocent suspect should be misled into making a false confession. 

Introduced as HB1860