The genesis of this bill is the unfortunate situation in Virginia Beach where detectives were shown to have utilized inauthentic Department of Forensic Science Certificates of Analysis to interrogate suspects. This legislation prohibits law-enforcement officers from using inauthentic replica documents during a custodial interrogation to secure a person’s cooperation or confession or to secure a conviction.
In 2020, Virginia passed legislation which defined custodial interrogation as any interview conducted by a law-enforcement officer in such circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to consider himself to be in custody associated with arrest and during which the law-enforcement officer takes actions or asks questions that are reasonably likely to elicit responses from the person that could incriminate him.
The scope of this bill is very narrow. “Inauthentic replica document” is defined by the bill as any document generated by law-enforcement officers or their agents that (i) contains a false statement, signature, seal, letterhead, or contact information or (ii) knowingly materially misrepresents any fact. This is a bill about protecting the integrity of our forensic scientists and ensuring their reputation remains intact to assist law enforcement and our citizen.
I understand that police have the right in certain circumstances to use many methods to mislead suspects, but I believe those rights should not extend to falsifying documents.
VIRGINIA MERCURY: JANUARY 28TH, 2022
House GOP blocks bill that would ban police from falsifying documents in interrogations
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT: JANUARY 28TH, 2022
Norfolk delegate’s bill banning police from using fake documents voted down
WAVY-TV 10: JANUARY 26TH, 2022
Following investigation into VBPD, delegate’s proposed bill would prohibit inauthentic replica documents in questioning suspects
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT: JANUARY 24TH, 2022
Virginia Beach police were caught using fake DNA reports. So a Norfolk delegate introduced a bill to ban the practice.
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL: JANUARY 12TH, 2022
Herring Secures Polcicy Changes from Virginia Beach Police Department After Discovery of Forged Documents Used in Interrogations
VIRGINIA MERCURY: JANUARY 12TH, 2022
AG: Virginia Beach police forged DNA evidence presented in court
HB 1281 Custodial interrogations; inauthentic replica documents prohibited.
Prohibits law-enforcement officers from using inauthentic replica documents during a custodial interrogation to secure a person’s cooperation or confession or to secure a conviction. “Inauthentic replica document” is defined by the bill as any document generated by law-enforcement officers or their agents that (i) contains a false statement, signature, seal, letterhead, or contact information or (ii) materially misrepresents any fact.
01/20/22 House: Presented and ordered printed 22104463D pdf
House subcommittee amendments and substitutes offered
01/20/22 House: Presented and ordered printed 22104463D
01/20/22 House: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/27/22 House: Assigned Courts sub: Subcommittee #1
01/28/22 House: Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (5-Y 3-N)