It makes no sense that adults who may face felony criminal charges are afforded more protections while being interrogated than a vulnerable teenager or preteen child. Yet, that is true today in Indiana. With a few exceptions, a confession cannot be used in a felony criminal case unless it was electronically recorded. Indiana Evidence Rule 617. The rule by its nature does not apply to juvenile cases, which are not criminal cases.
By modifying the rule to require that all custodial interrogations be electronically recorded, law enforcement would not have to guess about when the rule applies and when it does not. The interrogation would be recorded and available for review. All law enforcement now have the necessary equipment, so there would be little additional expense. And, the recorded statement gives both the State and the defense more information about the demeanor and actions of the person being interrogated, as well as the actions of the interrogators.
The lack of protection for our children flies in the face of the science and developing case law that recognizes that children are different than adults and should be afforded different levels of protection to ensure that the child understands his or her rights, knowingly and intelligently waives those rights, and is not overwhelmed during the interrogation process. See Barry C. Feld, Behind Closed Doors: What Really Happens When Cops Question Kids, 23 Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy 395 (2013).