While putting the finishing touches on an article, due to come out this winter, I came across this website, advertising the Nutcracker Interview Management System. It touts a "digital video recorder for law enforcement interviews ... expressly designed to make detectives more effective during custodial interviews. The system is designed around standard police workflow to save time and result in high conviction rates."
My article compares documentary filmmaking to films of custodial interrogations and confessions. The history and criticism of documentary filmmaking reveals a medium devoted to social and political advocacy. Insofar as "filmmaking in the precinct house" is a form of documentary filmmaking (born of the impulse to reveal something true about the accused and the crime), it too should be considered and evaluated as a form of advocacy on behalf of the state. It is a mistake, I suggest, to consider the films of interrogations and confession as transparent or unbiased portrayals of the defendant, the interrogation or the confessional statement.
Rather than make my argument in seventy-five pages (yes, way too long, I know), I could have just cited this website. See, e.g., Promotional Material for Nutcracker Product ("Allows jury members to see exactly how the suspect looked and acted, before being cleaned up for court.); see id. ("The system is designed ... to ... result in high conviction rates.) Is there any doubt after reviewing the promotional material for the Nutcracker Interview Management System that (a) accused criminals are prejudged by the state to be sufficiently "nutty" to warrant a coercively staged interrogation; and (b) the state's primary goal is conviction and not necessarily due process?