It is undeniable that "punishment of the innocent makes a mockery of the law." Police who linguistically coerce false confessions from communicatively immature suspects mock the criminal justice system by evading accountability and convicting the vulnerable. This paper documents how common linguistic strategies directed at certain vulnerable groups have the potential to elicit false confessions. Part II reviews linguistic strategies routinely employed by trained interrogators. Part III then explores how mentally challenged and juvenile suspects, otherwise known as communicatively immature groups, are more susceptible to deceptive linguistic strategies. Part IV discusses how interrogators learn to extract confessions, while Part V considers whether mandatory video recording can prevent police from committing these language crimes. Turning to the confession from that eight-yearold boy, Part VI transcribes the confession using linguistic conventions to showcase the purposeful language manipulation targeted at this child in order to quite possibly secure a false confession.
Kathryn C. Donoghue,
"You Think He Got Shot - Did You Maybe Shoot Him by Accident?": Linguistic Manipulation of the Communicatively Immature during Police Interrogations,
Rich. J. L. & Pub. Int.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/pilr/vol13/iss1/6