June 1, 2023

Contact: Stephanie Gomory, Communications Director, [email protected], 802-223-6304 x111

Montpelier, Vt. – Today, Governor Scott vetoed S.6, a bill to prevent the use of deceptive and coercive police interrogation techniques on people under the age of 22. This legislation was passed with strong support in both the House and the Senate. The ACLU is urging state lawmakers to override the governor’s veto and join a growing number of states in enacting this measure into law.

The following statement was issued in response by ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall:

“Governor Scott’s veto of S.6—one of the only significant police reforms advanced this year in Vermont—is nothing short of appalling. This bill would have prevented police from threatening and lying to kids. It joins a growing list of police accountability measures opposed by the governor in recent years—contrary to the desires of most voters, and despite overwhelming evidence that police in Vermont are still not accountable to the communities they serve.

S.6 would have protected Vermont youth from deceptive police interrogations. These practices are known to elicit false confessions, derail investigations, and result in wrongful convictions of innocent people. An extensive body of research confirms that youth are particularly susceptible to deceptive tactics. In addition, Black people and people of color are overrepresented in exoneration databases and in instances of false confessions.

Governor Scott just rejected an opportunity to advance racial justice and police accountability in our state. Three years after Vermont stated its commitment to eradicate systemic racism, it appears the governor has moved on, and our communities are worse off for that.

Fortunately, state legislators still have an opportunity to do the work the governor will not, and we call on them to override this veto and join the growing number of states who have already adopted this commonsense reform.”