This important piece of legislation to strengthen reforms in our juvenile justice system has passed both houses and awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature. I am asking for your support to get the Central Park 5 Bill (S6533/A7970 - Frontus) signed into law. This bill would require video recording of all interrogations of youth accused of juvenile delinquency in Family Court. Recent reforms only require recordings in the rare instances where juveniles are accused of violent felonies.
Even though we passed Raise the Age, there are still many corners of the justice system that need to be addressed. Video-recording is universally recognized as a beneficial practice and it is a vital tool of accountability when youth are involved. In the Central Park 5 case, there was no recording of dozens of hours of predatory interrogation that led to false confessions. These coercive situations are not uncommon. Our children should never find themselves in a room alone with law enforcement and with no record of the interaction.
Recordings of interrogations prevent bad behavior on the front end and provide greater accountability on the back end of the legal process. They reduce coercion, help identify instances of false confessions, provide an objective and reliable record and prevent disputes about officer conduct. This legislation will build upon Raise the Age by providing a transparent interrogation process that protects the rights of young people in the court system.
I urge you to call immediately (518) 474-8390 (Albany office) / (212) 681-4580 (NYC office) or e-mail (governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form) Governor Cuomo and ask him to sign this important piece of legislation into law!