It was unclear yesterday if the videotaping measure will be introduced as a standalone piece of legislation or a package of bills. In the past, the proposal has been bundled with unrelated or marginally related issues and never gained traction.
Lippman said following the address yesterday that the initiatives to introduce the videotaping and lineup procedures were both at the top of the priority list of a commission he appointed, the New York State Justice Task Force, to reduce the instances of wrongful convictions.
"I couldn't laud the governor more for his leadership in this area because it is so important to the state and the Judiciary…. [T]he one thing that undermines the justice system more than anything else is when an innocent person is convicted of a crime that he didn't commit," said Lippman, who was in the front row with the other four members of the Court of Appeals. "Nothing could be more contrary to the concept of equal justice and the rule of law."
Cuomo said 12 statesConnecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Wisconsin and the District of Columbiahave enacted legislation requiring the recording of custodial interrogations. Additionally, he said high courts in Alaska, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New Jersey have required authorities to record confessions.
Lippman said another proposal by the task force, to expand DNA testing to apply to virtually all crimes, was adopted by the state in 2012.
The governor's support of videotaping comes on the heels of a September announcement by New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly that the NYPD will expand the videotaping of interrogations to all 76 precincts.
It has been opposed by some police officials who question whether smaller agencies can afford the procedure.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who also attended yesterday's speech, said he backs videotaping initiatives.
"I think that the police commissioner has seen that there is a sensible movement toward custodial interrogation of videotaping statements, particularly for defined types of violent crime, which minimizes the fiscal impact," Vance said. "I think that trend is the right trend."
Vance is president of the state District Attorneys' Association but said he was speaking for himself about the proposal.