The Language of Confession, Interrogation, and Deception
Publication Year: 1998
From a linguistic perspective, this book is a practical explanation of how confessions work. Roger Shuy, author of the 1993 benchmark work, Language Crimes, examines criminal confessions, the interrogations that elicit confessions, and the deceptive language that plays a role in the actual confession. He presents transcripts from numerous interrogations and analyzes how language is used, how constitutional rights are not protected, and discusses consistency, truthfulness, suggestibility, and written and unvalidated confessions. He also provides specific advice about how to conduct interrogations that will yield credible evidence.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Confession Event
- Chapter 2: Language of the Police Interrogation
- Interrogating versus Interviewing
- Case Study of the Interrogations of Steve Allen
- Was Chris Jerue Lying?
- Did Donald Goltz Believe What He Confessed?
- Some Problems with Police Interrogation
- Chapter 3: Language and Constitutional Rights
- Miranda Rights in the DWI Arrest
- Were the Rights of Jesse Moffett Abused?
- Were the Rights of Charles Lorraine Violated?
- Chapter 4: Language of Truthfulness and Deception
- Was Robert Alben Lying?
- Was Jessie Moffett Lying?
- Chapter 5: Language of Written Confessions
- Michael Carter's Written Statement
- The Written Statement as a Clue to Deception
- Chapter 6: Language of the Implicational Confession
- Surrogate Confession of DeWayne Hill
- Chapter 7: Language of the Interrogator as Therapist
- Persuasion of Beverly Monroe
- Chapter 8: Inferred Confession
- Case Study of Shiv Panini
- Chapter 9: Unvalidated Confession
- Why Did Kevin Rogers Confess?
- Chapter 10: An Effective Interrogation and a Valid Confession
- Case Study of Pamela Gardner
- Chapter 11: Some Basic Principles of Interrogation, Confession, and Deceptive Language
- Be Conversational
- Ask Clear and Explicit Questions
- Do Not Mix Interview Types
- Look for Inconsistencies before Trying to Determine Deception
- Tape-Record All Contacts
Empirical Linguistics Series[Page ii]William A.Kretzschmar, Jr., Series Editor
Books in this series will bring serious attention to the study of empirical data (e.g., linguistic corpora, discourse analysis, dialectology, and sociolinguistics). Every volume will accept the actual utterances of real people as the basis for study. Empirical Linguistics fully embraces the “linguistics of speech,” showcases applications of empirical methods, and includes textbooks that present the methods of empirical linguistics.
Also published in this series:
Introduction to Quantitative Analysis of Linguistic Survey Data: An Atlas By the Numbers
by William A. Kretzschmar, Jr. and Edgar W. Schneider
Copyright © 1998 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Shuy, Roger W.
The language of confession, interrogation, and deception / by Roger W. Shuy.
p. cm.—(Empirical linguistics)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-7619-1346-7 (pbk.: acid-free paper).—ISBN 0-7619-1345-9 (cloth: acid-free paper)
1. Police questioning—United States—Case studies. 2. Confession (Law)—United States—Case studies. 3. Right to counsel—United States—Case studies. I. Title. II. Series.
01 02 03 04 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
Acquiring Editor: Catherine Rossbach
Editorial Assistant: Kathleen Derby
Production Editor: Michele Lingre
Production Assistant: Denise Santoyo
Typesetter/Designer: Marion Warren
Cover Designer: Candice Harman
Series Editor's Introduction[Page vii]
The first book in the Sage Empirical Linguistics Series featured quantitative analysis, one of the possible avenues by which empirical analysis of language can be pursued. This book takes another path, qualitative analysis through case studies. While Roger Shuy does not count occurrences of linguistic features, he is no less interested in “the actual utterances of real people as the basis for study,” the announced focus for the series.
And what case studies Shuy presents. They make for gripping reading. The facts of the legal cases are there, and the details of interrogation and confession. We learn that interrogations and confessions do not occur in two-minute segments—the impression that some readers may have gotten from popular television offerings—but instead as part of a process bound up with detective work and subject to every kind of social and legal pressure. Most of all, we learn that the interplay of language in interrogation and confession has its own drama that is every bit as intriguing as the drama of detection and trial. Shuy's detailed analysis of the discourse of interrogation and confession demonstrates that neither suspects nor law officers can afford to think that words mean just what they say. The condition of the speakers, whether they are asking or answering the questions, has much to do with the meanings of statements as those meanings are intended and inferred. The conditions under which statements are made also have much to do with their meaning.
We as readers can act the part of the proverbial fly on the wall, not for the events of hard-boiled detective fiction but now for the high stakes of real cases being decided on the basis of what people have actually said. And the verdicts are not always what disinterested analysis of the discourse suggests.
[Page viii]Forensic linguistics, here practiced by one of the founders of the field, is no less linguistic because it is also forensic, just as there is no less medicine in forensic medicine than in other medical specialties. Because the stakes are so high, there is all the more reason that linguists (and others) should apply every available method in the field to try to find the equity in confessions and interrogations. This Shuy does, whether by remarking on cultural differences in communication in the Panini case, or the sequence of question topics in the Jerue case, to name just two. From the welter of approaches in the different cases, general trends do emerge, both for linguists and for interrogators: linguistic analysis suggests practical consequences in law enforcement. Here is empirical linguistics at its best, not only in study of actual speech but in service to just treatment of actual speakers.—William A.KretzschmarJr.University of Georgia
[Page ix]To all those who have endured my fascination with this subject during the past few years, especially my wife, Jana Staton; my children, Tim, Joel, and Katie; and my graduate students at Georgetown University. All helped me hone and refine these thoughts. To them all I am deeply grateful.[Page x]
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