Why do so many people voluntarily consent to searches by have the police search their person or vehicle when they know that they are carrying contraband or evidence of illegal activity? Does everyone understand the Miranda warning? How well can people recognize a voice on tape? Can linguistic experts identify who wrote an anonymous threatening letter?
Speaking of Crime answers these questions and examines the complex role of language within our criminal justice system. Lawrence M. Solan and Peter M. Tiersma compile numerous cases, ranging from the Lindbergh kidnapping to the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton to the JonBenét Ramsey case, that provide real-life examples of how language functions in arrests, investigations, interrogations, confessions, and trials. In a clear and accessible style, Solan and Tiersma show how recent advances in the study of language can aid in understanding how legal problems arise and how they might be solved.
With compelling discussions current issues and controversies, this book is a provocative state-of-the-art survey that will be of enormous value to legal scholars and professionals throughout the criminal justice system.
"In this fascinating study, Lawrence Solan and Peter Tiersma lead readers on an intriguing journey into this unexplored terrain. . . . The text focuses on discrete legal issues and seeks to demonstrate for each how the study of language can shed light on the operation of the criminal justice system. . . . The authors' brisk analysis demonstates that incorrect preconceptions or conclusions regarding language often lead to results that are not supported by the evidence. For those convinced of the need to reform the criminal justice system, these observations will provide yet more ammunition, as well as engrossing anecdote.."—Harvard Law Review