ACLU blasts Scott over veto of bill prohibiting deceptive interrogations of young people

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 12:57 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed a bill aimed at prohibiting deceptive and coercive interrogations by police of minors and young adults.

Scott wrote in his veto message to lawmakers Thursday that the bill “started out as a reasonable approach to expand existing constitutional protections prohibiting deceptive and coercive interrogations for juvenile offenders under the age of 18.” But the legislation that passed offers the protections to young offenders up to the age of 22, and would have made Vermont an outlier, at a time when communities are feeling unsafe and asking the state to do more, the governor wrote.

“This bill would make it more difficult to investigate and prosecute young adult perpetrators involved in serious crimes, such as narcotics trafficking, sex offenses, including sexual assaults that happen on college campuses and child sex abuse cases, and internet crimes against children,” Scott wrote.

The head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont called the governor’s veto “nothing short of appalling” and urged the Legislature to override it. Deceptive police interrogations “are known to elicit false confessions, derail investigations, and result in wrongful convictions of innocent people,” the organization said in a release.

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