Virginia Republicans Vote Down Bill To Ban Police Use of Forged Evidence Documents During Interrogations

Virginia Republicans voted last Friday in favor of a bill to prohibit police in Virginia from using false documents during interrogations of suspects. 

Delegate Jackie Glass (D–Norfolk) sponsored House Bill 1281 after former Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring In JanuaryThe Virginia Beach Police Department had at most five times forged forensic sciences reports for interrogations. The Virginia Office of Civil Rights investigated the matter and found that the Virginia Beach Police Department had agreed to stop the practice. 

Glass’s bill would have prohibited the use of “automatic weapons” by police.Documents that are created by officers of law enforcement or their agents, and which (i) contain a false statement or signature, seal, letterhead or contact information, or (iii) materially misrepresent any fact, will be rejected.When conducting “a custodial investigation to secure any person’s cooperation, confession or conviction.”

Republicans control the Virginia House majority and have killed the bill on the Courts of Justice Subcommittee. 

This has been used many times to learn about a murder or a rape and even to break into a house. Del. Wren Williams (R–Patrick) said A report by the Daily Press. “Aren’t we supposed be using the justice to just make it for our victims?” Madison County Attorney Clarissa Berry (I), reportedly objected to the bill as “whether or no confession was coerced, is a matter that the trial judge should decide.”

Ramin Fatehi is the Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney. Submitted to the SubcommitteeAllowing police to forge documents is too permissive. We agree that the Constitution permits police to lie to citizens and is sometimes a useful investigative tool. Forging documents is too much. 

While Virginia Republicans believe that police can lie to solve crime, corrupt officers can use this tactic to send innocents to prison. The famous example of this was when the New York State Trooop C ScandalJohn Spencer was sentenced to death for murdering his wife and using completely fake evidence. Spencer’s fingerprints were taken by police officers and attached to evidence cards.   

The Innocence Project is a legal organisation that investigates and reverses wrongful convictions. RebuttsThese tactics can never be misused, according to the claims. According to The Innocence Project, “Many of America’s 360 wrong convictions that were overturned by DNA evidence included false confessions.” These false confessions often result from “[d]”Evious interrogation techniques”: Untrue statements concerning the presence or absence of evidence.

Herring indicated in January his intention to contact defendants who were affected due to the use of forgery documents.

Herring declared in a statement that, “this was an extraordinarily troubling and possibly unconstitutional tactic to try to coerce confessions,” Statement.