Rule 616 of the Utah Rules of Evidence provides generally that in felony prosecutions, a statement made by a criminal defendant during a custodial interrogation that occurs in a “place of detention” is not admissible against the defendant unless an electronic recording of the statement was created and is made available at trial.
Subsection (b) of the rule states that this rule “is in addition to” and is not intended to diminish any other requirements of a defendant’s admissions or statements.
The rule states, “Except as otherwise provided in Subsection ( c) of this rule, evidence of a statement made by the defendant during a custodial interrogation in a place of detention shall not be admitted against the defendant in a felony criminal prosecution unless an electronic recording of the statement was made and is available at trial. This requirement is in addition to, and does not diminish, any other requirement regarding the admissibility of a person’s statements.”
Rule 616 appears to create a broad prohibition on the use of unrecorded statements made during custodial interrogations, the rule also lists a number of exceptions that limit the rule. The exceptions include:
- Statements made prior to January 1, 2016
- Statements made outside Utah conducted by officers of another jurisdiction
- Statements offered solely for impeachment purposes
- Spontaneous statements made outside of a custodial interrogation or during routine processing or booking
- Statements made before or during a custodial interrogation, the persons agreed to respond only if no recording was made, provided the agreement is electronically recorded or documented in writing
- The officers in good faith failed to make a recording because they inadvertently failed to operate the recording equipment properly, or without their knowledge the equipment malfunctioned
- The officers reasonable believed the crime under investigation was not a felony under Utah law
- Substantial exigent circumstances existed that prevented or rendered unfeasible the making of an electronic recording or prevented its preservation and availability at trial
- The statement has substantial guarantees of trustworthiness and reliability equivalent to those of an electronic recording, and admitting the statement best serves the purposes of these rules and the interests of justice.
- Not later than 30 days before trial, the prosecution must serve notice of intent to offer an unrecorded statement under an exception described in Subsection (c) (4) through (9).