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 Written Confessions
Language of written confessions

In the cases involving tape-recorded confessions described earlier, focused on the perceptions and misperceptions of the police and their techniques of questioning Steve Allen and Chris Jerue, the apparent restructuring of Judge Goltz's statement, language issues in the DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrests, and questions about the waiver of rights by Jessie Moffett and Charles Lorraine. But when the major confession evidence against a suspect is a written confession, this opens up a somewhat different type of linguistic analysis: stylistics. Describing forensic stylistics, McMenamin (1993) says, “Author-specific linguistic patterns are present in unique combinations in the styles of every writer, and these underlying patterns can be objectively described and often measured by careful observation and analysis, making author ...

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