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8. Confessions

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  • Alabama

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Alaska

    Confessions, like other documents in the custody or control of law enforcement or other public officials, may be disclosable pursuant to the state Public Records Act, but as a practical matter will most likely be obtained from court records when they are filed in connection with filed criminal cases because until they are filed, or the case is closed, it is most likely that a confession may be exempt from disclosure under one of the provisions of AS 40.25.120(a)(6), especially (a)(6)(A), that production of these records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, or perhaps that disclosure could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of a suspect, defendant, victim, or witness, (6)(C).

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  • Arizona

    Confessions in police records are public records and thus presumed open for inspection and copying.

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  • Arkansas

    There is no statutory or case law that directly addresses confessions. However, because the only records that qualify for the open-investigation exception are documents that are investigative in nature, Hengel v. City of Pine Bluff, 307 Ark. 457, 821 S.W.2d 761 (1991), a confession contained in a document that is subject to disclosure, such as an arrest report, probably would not be exempt from the FOIA.

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  • California

    May be withheld at agency’s discretion under Section 6254(f) of the CPRA if compiled for correctional or law enforcement purposes. However, once introduced in evidence in a criminal proceeding, public access to the information is presumed absent a constitutional showing justifying its sealing. Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(f).

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  • Colorado

    Confessions are public records if procured during an official action by a criminal justice agency.

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  • Connecticut

    See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-210(b)(3) (law enforcement exemption) in Records Outline at II.A.2.c.

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  • Delaware

    Not specified.

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Florida

    Information revealing the “substance of a confession” of a person arrested or of witness lists exchanged pursuant to the provisions of Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.220 is not subject to the disclosure requirements until such time as the charge is finally determined by adjudication, dismissal or other disposition. Fla. Stat. § 119.071(2)(e) (2015). Portions of the initial complaint and arrest report in a criminal case file which are not part of the "substance of a confession" or, in other words, the material parts of a statement made by a person charged with the commission of a crime in which that person acknowledges guilt of the essential elements of the act or acts constituting guilt of the essential elements of the act or acts constituting the entire criminal offense, are not exempt from section 119.07(1)(a). Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 84-33 (1984).

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  • Georgia

    There is no special exemption for confessions.

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  • Hawaii

    A videotaped confession is not required to be available for public inspection and copying as disclosure during the investigation of the crime would frustrate the investigative function of the police department. Video-Taped Confession in Homicide Investigation, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-18 (May 18, 1990).

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  • Idaho

    Confessions are not specifically addressed in the Idaho open records statutes. In practice, most law enforcement agencies and prosecutors consider confessions to be “investigative records” and therefore exempt from disclosure, unless and until the confession is filed with the court or introduced in open court. Whether that interpretation would withstand a court challenge is an open question.

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  • Illinois

    Open, unless exempt by 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(d).

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  • Indiana

    Under Indiana Code § 5-14-3-4(b)(1), access to investigatory records of law enforcement agencies may be provided or denied at the agency’s discretion. If the confession is admitted as evidence at a court hearing or trial, the public is entitled to access under the First Amendment and common law rights of access to judicial records.  See State ex re. Post-Tribune Pub. Co. v. Porter Superior Ct., 412 N.E.2d 748, 751 (Ind. 1980).  See also, Ind. Admin. R. 9.

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  • Iowa

    See generally Iowa Code § 22.7(5).

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  • Kansas

    Effective July 1, 2017, law enforcement agencies are required to make electronic recordings of certain interrogations, including the “entire custodial interrogation at a place of detention when the interrogation concerns a homicide or a felony sex offense.”  K.S.A. 22-4620(e)(1).  However, “[e]very electronic recording of any statement as required by this section shall be confidential and exempt from the Kansas open records act in accordance with K.S.A. 45-229, and amendments thereto.”  K.S.A. 22-4620(g).

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  • Kentucky

    See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.878(1)(h); see also 08-ORD-016.

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  • Louisiana

    Exempt during pendency of criminal litigation. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:3(A)(l).

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  • Maine

    The availability of a confession is controlled by the availability of investigatory records of the offense involved. 16 M.R.S.A. § 804.

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  • Maryland

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Massachusetts

    No relevant cases found.

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Minnesota

    The classification of confessions is not addressed under the Act.

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  • Montana

    Confessions are public criminal justice information.

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  • Nebraska

    There is no law on point. To the extent a confession is part of an investigative record it may be withheld.

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  • Nevada

    See Donrey of Nevada, Inc. v. Bradshaw, 106 Nev. 630 (1990).

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  • New Hampshire

    Neither the Statute nor case law addresses this issue.

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  • New Jersey

    A confession that has been admitted into evidence is accessible to the public.  See New Jersey Court Rules 1:38-1 et seq. Prior to being admitted into evidence in a court proceeding, a confession is part of a criminal investigatory file and is exempt from the definition of “government record” under OPRA.

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  • New Mexico

    Law enforcement records are public unless the requested records reveal confidential sources, methods or information, individuals accused but not charged with a crime, or victims of—or non-law-enforcement witnesses to—an alleged crime.  NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1(D).  Confessions may not be public if they reveal confidential sources or information.

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  • New York

    Matter of Rainbow News 12 Co., N.Y.L.J. June 30, 1992 (Sup. Ct., Suffolk Cty., 1992) (holding that although witness statements, including confessions, are generally exempt from FOIL requests, videotaped confessions used in open court lose their cloak of confidentiality and are available for inspection).

    An agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to criminal investigations. N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 87(2)(e)(iii) (McKinney 1988).

    For cases on confidentiality, see Matter of Exoneration Initiative v New York City Police Dep’t, 114 A.D.3d 436, 980 N.Y.S.2d 73 (1st Dep’t 2014) (holding portions of a record must be disclosed in the absence of any evidence that informant received an express or implied promise of confidentiality); Matter of Gomez v. Fischer, 74 A.D.3d 1399, 902 N.Y.S.2d 212 (3d Dep’t 2010) (“Statements by a witness must be disclosed absent a showing that he or she was a confidential informant or requested or was promised anonymity, or that his or her life or safety would be endangered by disclosure.”); Laureano v. Grimes, 179 A.D.2d 602, 579 N.Y.S.2d 357, (1st Dep’t 1992) (granting access to police memo books of investigation where no assertion of promise of confidentiality and confidentiality, if given, was lost since witnesses later testified); Ennis v. Slade, 179 A.D.2d 558, 579 N.Y.S.2d 59 (1st Dep’t 1992), motion for leave to appeal denied, 79 N.Y.2d 758 (1992) (records of a “buy operation” were compiled for law enforcement purposes and if disclosed would reveal confidential sources and information); Geames v. Henry, 173 A.D.2d 825, 572 N.Y.S.2d 635 (2d Dep’t 1991) (granting access to conviction record); Cornell University v. City of New York Police Dep’t., 153 A.D.2d 515, 544 N.Y.S.2d 356, (1st Dep’t 1989), leave denied, 75 N.Y.2d 707 (1990) (granting disclosure of police investigative file where witnesses were not promised anonymity); Auburn Publisher Inc. v. City of Auburn, 147 A.D.2d 900 (4th Dep’t 1989) (denying access to affidavits in police investigation); Allen v. Strojnowski, 129 A.D.2d 700, 514 N.Y.S.2d 463 (3d Dep’t 1987), motion for leave to appeal denied, 70 N.Y.2d 871, 518 N.E.2d 5, 523 N.Y.S.2d 493 (1987) (denying access to names, addresses and statements of confidential witnesses); Radio City Music Hall Productions v. New York City Police Dep’t, 121 A.D.2d 230, 503 N.Y.S.2d 722 (1st Dep’t 1986) (granting access to police investigation reports after redacting names and statements of confidential witnesses); Hawkins v. Kurlander, 98 A.D.2d 14, 469 N.Y.S.2d 820 (4th Dep’t 1983) (denying access to interviews made under promise of confidentiality in connection with investigation which did not lead to filing of charges); Gannett Co. v. James, 86 A.D.2d 744, 447 N.Y.S.2d 781 (4th Dep’t 1982), appeal dismissed, 56 N.Y.2d 502, 435 N.E.2d 1099, 450 N.Y.S.2d 1023 (1982) (denying access to records of complaints against police officers which might identify a confidential source); State Police v. Boehm, 71 A.D.2d 810, 419 N.Y.S.2d 23 (4th Dep’t 1979) (requiring disclosure of identities of confidential informants was an abuse of discretion); Walker v. City of New York, 64 A.D.2d 980, 408 N.Y.S.2d 811 (2d Dep’t 1978) (denying access to identities of confidential informants as well as confidential information relating to criminal investigation); Ragusa v. New York State Dep’t of Law, 152 Misc.2d 602, 578 N.Y.S.2d 959 (Sup. Ct. 1991) (ordering disclosure of Attorney General’s investigation records where no assurance of confidentiality was made in this case); Matter of Spruils, N.Y.L.J. July 28, 1995 (Sup. Ct. New York Cty., 1995) (denying access to police officer’s memo book which might contain names, addresses and statements of confidential witnesses on personal hardship grounds); Elmira Star-Gazette v. Strojnowski, No. 9924-84 (Sup. Ct., Albany Cty., Nov. 7, 1984) (denying access to state police reports containing identities of confidential sources); Kwoczka v. Cawley, 103 Misc.2d 13, 425 N.Y.S.2d 247 (Sup.Ct. 1980) (denying access to testimony, audio and videotapes of undercover police investigation where such disclosure would identify informants); Petix v. Connelie, 99 Misc.2d 343, 416 N.Y.S.2d 167 (Sup. Ct. 1979) (denying access to state police internal investigation report to protect identities of confidential informants).

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  • North Carolina

    Confessions are not specifically addressed by statute but likely could be withheld as criminal intelligence or criminal investigative records. G.S. § 132-1.4(b).

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  • Ohio

    Where a confession is part of a specific investigatory work product it is exempt from disclosure.  Ohio Rev. Code §§ 149.43(A)(1)(h), 149.43(A)(2)(c).

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  • Oklahoma

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Oregon

    There is no statutory or case law specifically addressing this issue.

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  • Pennsylvania

    Confessions are presumptively accessible.

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  • Rhode Island

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • South Carolina

    Public subject to exemption if the disclosure would harm the law enforcement agency.  S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(a)(3).

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  • South Dakota

    Closed, presumably, during investigative stage. SDCL §1-27-1.5 (5).

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  • Tennessee

    Confessions will likely be subject to the same restrictions as investigative records.

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  • Texas

    A synopsis of a reported confession generally is exempt. See Houston Chronicle Publ’g. Co., 531 S.W.2d at 185.

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  • Utah

    There appears to be no Utah statute governing access to confessions, although law enforcement agencies may withhold confessions if release would interfere with an ongoing investigation. See Utah Code § 63G-2-305(10)(a).

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  • Vermont

    Not addressed, however, it may fall within the exemption regarding detection and investigation of crime contained in 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(5).

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  • Virginia

    No special rule.

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  • Washington

    There are no specific restrictions on access to confessions unless they fall within the investigative records exemption under the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.240(1), or the CRPA. RCW 10.97.050.

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Wisconsin

    Confessions are subject to the balancing test.

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  • Wyoming

    No exemption is included in the law.

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