SPEAKING OF CRIME: The
Language of Criminal Justice
by Lawrence Solan and
of Crime is an engaging, insightful and gracefully written
tour of how language and cognitive psychology influence criminal law
doctrine and practice. It belongs in the library of anyone who teaches,
studies, or practices criminal justice." --Jerome H. Skolnick, Center
for Research on Crime and Justice, New York University School of Law
Larry Solan and Peter Tiersma have recently
completed their new book on language and the criminal law. It was
originally going to be called "Language on Trial," but we decided we
liked the current title better.
book discusses issues like:
In the course of discussing these issues, the book will
an array of fascinating cases in which these questions have played an
pivotal role, including the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the
of the Unabomber, the investigation into the JonBenet Ramsey murder,
beheading of King Charles I of England, threats to kill the president,
Clinton impeachment proceedings, and many much more ordinary crimes.
- why do people "voluntarily" consent to a search by the
when they know they are carrying drugs or other contraband, and what
the implications of this practice for "racial profiling"?
- why do police often ignore a suspect's requests for a
- why do people sometimes confess to crimes they did not
- how well can people remember exact words that were spoken
a particular situation?
- how well can people identify a
from his or her voice, and are experts or machines any better at it?
- can experts in linguistics or stylistics identify the
of a document like a threatening letter based on comparison of the
to documents known to have been written by the author?
- what exactly does it mean to "solicit" someone to commit
- when is an utterance a "threat," and how are threats
from warning, predictions, political hyperbole, etc.?
- what is it that makes an answer to a question a lie, and
Clinton commit perjury when he swore under oath that he did not have
relations with Monica Lewinsky?
You can order the
of Chicago Press
(hard cover) Amazon.com