Should law enforcement officers be required to record, by video or audiotape, custodial interrogations of suspects? If so, how much, the entire interrogation or just the confession? Many prosecutors and police departments maintain that a recording requirement will hamper law enforcement and discourage suspects from talking. Proponents of this measure argue that the recording of interrogations protects against false confessions, augments the effective administration of justice, and serves to improve the relationship between the public and the police.

This article generally examines the developing case law on this question. Because of the incriminating nature of confessions, the article, by way of background, initially provides an overview of the history and evolution of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and discusses the law surrounding the admissibility of confessions at trial. This is followed by a brief analysis of the federal law on evidence preservation. Lastly, the article discusses how the federal and state courts have responded to challenges by defendants that their confessions should have been suppressed because they were not recorded electronically.