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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2023 11:27 AM
From: Representative Greg Scott
To: All House members
Subject: Banning Deceptive Tactics in Police Interrogations
Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system has several important safeguards to prevent the occurrence of wrongful convictions. However, our state 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 an 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, the Innocence Project reports that 25 percent of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence involved a false confession. Further, approximately 250 interrogation-induced false confessions have been documented since the late 1980s in the course of only six studies. 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.
No innocent suspect should be misled into making a false confession. Please join me in supporting this legislation to protect Pennsylvanians from forceful and deceptive interrogation techniques. 

Introduced as HB1156