Illinois becomes first state to ban police from lying to minors to obtain confessions

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois is the first state to ban police from using deceptive practices to get a confession out of suspects younger than 18.

The bill stops police from lying to minors in order to get information on a case. Supporters say the practice leads to false or incorrect confessions.

“Let me be clear. I think that lying or deceiving anyone in any interrogation is wrong, but in this case, especially with young people. Don’t deceive them, don’t try to make offers to them. Don’t try to intimidate them and tell them you know X is happening here and therefore Y is happening there.,” said Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

The bill passed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. House Republican leader Jim Durkin signed on as a co-sponsor.

“I’ll never be accused of being soft on crime, but I’m more interested in seeking the truth than a conviction,” Durkin said. “I believe in fair play. We should never tolerate, under any circumstance, the use of deception to seek a statement or an admission by any defendant, let alone a juvenile.”

Though few Americans realize it, police regularly deceive suspects during questioning to try to secure confessions, from saying DNA placed them at the scene of a crime to claiming eyewitnesses identified them as being the perpetrator. Detectives also can lie about the consequences of confessing, saying, for instance, that admitting responsibility is a quick ticket home.

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