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.

Language of the Police Interrogation

Language of the police interrogation

Interrogating versus Interviewing

In recent years, I have heard many law enforcement officers testify that they do not interrogate, that, rather, they interview subjects. From this, it is apparent that the image produced by the word interrogation is not one that some law enforcement officers appreciate. In fact, one such officer explained on the witness stand that interrogation conjures up browbeating and rubber hoses, practices not condoned by the police. However accurate this officer's assessment may be of the bad public image the word interrogation evinces, he was probably right to avoid using it. By using the more neutral term interview, law enforcement joins the large body of professions that carry out such activity, such as journalists, ...

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