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Ohio House passes criminal justice bill to require interrogation recordings

Published By The Center Square on April 16, 2021
Phil Plummer In The News

(The Center Square) - Ohio law enforcement soon could be forced to hit the record button when questioning suspects in most major felony cases.

The Ohio House has passed a bill, which now heads to the Senate, that requires video and audio recordings of interrogations for felonies involving murder or sexual assault from the moment an officer’s question is reasonably likely to elicit incriminating responses.

“Custodial recordings provide objective evidence that protects both law enforcement officers and suspects from misconduct,” said Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton, a former Montgomery County sheriff. “Implementing a uniform statewide standard while providing flexibility for agencies to adopt policies will uphold constitutional rights and improve community relations.”

Nearly half of all states require or encourage similar recordings, and it’s been U.S. Justice Department policy since 2014. A University of Cincinnati survey in 2017 said more than half of Ohio law enforcement agencies already have a similar written policy.

The legislation, House Bill 8, passed Thursday with bipartisan support.

 “This bill ensures greater accountability in our criminal justice system and greater access to justice for all Ohioans,” Rep. Thomas West, D-Canton, said. “HB 8 will protect against false confessions while also protecting law enforcement from false claims of wrongdoing. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on sending this critical reform legislation to the governor’s desk.”

Telemedicine expansion: The House also passed House Bill 122, which expands telemedicine options throughout the state.

More health care providers have turned to video and phone appointments with patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to limit spread and adhere to health mandates, while providing care.

The bill, which now heads to the Senate, expands the types of providers who may bill for telehealth services, adds new services a provider may bill for and establishes new ways providers can see patients across state lines.

“The increase in telehealth visits throughout the past year is enough proof to show how instrumental this legislation is for both health care professionals and patients,” Rep. Adam Holmes, R-Nashport, said. “The implementation of the Telemedicine Act will positively benefit Ohioans and set a precedent for the future of health care across the nation.”

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