Interrogation Parity

This Article addresses the special interrogation protections afforded exclusively to the police when they are questioned about misconduct. In approximately twenty states, police officers suspected of misconduct are shielded by statutory Law Enforcement Officer Bills of Rights. These statutes frequently limit the tactics investigators can use during interrogations of police officers. Many of these provisions limit the manner and length of questioning, ban the use of threats or promises, require the recording of interrogations, and guarantee officers a reprieve from questioning to tend to personal necessities. These protections, which are available to police but not to ordinary criminal suspects, create inequality in our criminal justice system.

In this Article, we propose a novel method by which the federal government could combat this distributional inequality while promoting broader reform in the area of police interrogation procedures. This Article proposes that Congress use its spending power to condition funds to police departments on the adoption of uniform, minimum protections for both police and civilian suspects facing interrogations.

The full text of this Article is available to download as a PDF.