“This is one of those bills that I believe protects all parties,” Rep. Jesse Chism (D-Memphis) said. “It keeps frivolous things from being said about law enforcement and also ensures that law enforcement is accountable, as well.”
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Chism had a bill last session that got kicked to next year.
If it passes, it’ll make it so ‘a law enforcement officer conducting a formal interview or interrogation of the child at a law enforcement facility concerning any violation of state or federal law by the child shall make a video or audio recording of the interview or interrogation.’
“In Shelby County, we’re already doing it, as well as so many other counties in the state,” Chism said. “We just want to make sure we’re uniform across the state.”
The bill received unanimous support in the Senate.
“You know, when it came through the Senate Judiciary Committee, frankly, it was a very short discussion,” Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) said. “The bill made sense to most of us, where you have audio or visual recording when you’re interrogating a juvenile. That made sense to us and we just passed it out.”
A few stragglers in the House had issues with an exception in the bill that says if law enforcement did not record an interrogation and can’t prove they tried to, a juvenile can go free.
“In the exclusionary rule, if it’s violated, you don’t just lose the confession,” Rep. Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) said during a committee meeting in regular session. “You lose all the evidence that comes after that, as well. That’s also tainted.”
But Chism said he thinks it may have just been an issue with the timing since the bill came up for discussion around the same time as when two Democratic lawmakers were expelled and brought back to the House.
Now, he feels a little better about it.
“I’m cautiously optimistic. I believe that we have a good consensus,” Chism said. “As it stands right now, it’s a bipartisan bill.”
The bill was set for a summer study next week, but lawmakers told News 2 they’ve resolved the issues they had with the bill. So, they canceled the study session.