JB Pritzker, the Governor of Illinois has signed into law a new bill on Thursday that bars the police from deceiving underage kids while interrogating them.
Interrogation tactics that are commonly used like insinuating that there is an incriminating evidence or promising leniency are banned whenever suspects aged below 18 years are being questioned. This becomes effective from the 1st of January.
The Innocence Project, which is an organization that focuses on exonerating people that are wrongly convicted, revealed that those methods of interrogation have been seen to yield false confessions. Also, they have been responsible for about 30% of people convicted wrongly, which were eventually overturned with the use of DNA.
According to the organization, there was a time when Illinois was referred to as the “False confession Capital of the United States.” This is due to some high-profile exonerations who gave wrong confessions for crimes not responsible for.
Illinois Innocence Project’s legal director, Lauren Kaeseberg revealed that:
In Illinois alone, there have been 100 wrongful convictions predicated on false confessions, including 31 involving people under 18 years of age.Lauren Kaeseberg
One well-known case has to do with the Englewood Four. Back in March 1995, the police of Chicago brought in four blacks, who were teenagers accusing them of raping and murdering a woman, Nina Glover.
After interrogating them for some hours, police called one of them, Terrill Swift, telling her that if he revealed he was present at the scene, he would be released – he eventually did. The four teens later confessed to the crime and they remained in prison for 20 years when DNA evidence exonerated them.