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 and Constitutional Rights
Language and constitutional rights

The primary law governing eliciting confessions is that the confessor voluntarily acknowledge his or her guilt. In 1943 and 1944, the Supreme Court ruled in McNabb v. United States (318 U.S. 332, 1943): “Not only must a confession be voluntary and trustworthy, but it must also have been obtained by ‘civilized’ interrogation procedure” (Inbau et al., 1986, p. 247).1 The Court held that any person arrested should be taken before a U.S. commissioner or a federal judge without delay. If a confession were obtained during a period of delay, it would be deemed inadmissible.

In 1958, Congress introduced a bill that provided that no statement or confession would be admissible as evidence in a federal case solely because of ...

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