Discourse Analysis of Criminal Justice

Science and the Law
Saturday, February 18, 2017: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 302 (Hynes Convention Center)
Criminal cases can be seen as a series of linguistic encounters. They begin with the first interaction between an individual and the police, and end with a verdict and, if the person is found guilty, sentencing. In the past few decades, linguists have been analyzing these encounters and offering explanations of their structure and substance, based on developments in the fields of semantics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis. This session brings some of these insights and explanations to the attention of the greater scientific community. What aspects of a police officer’s language lead people to consent to searches when they know they have contraband? Why is it so difficult to assert one’s right to remain silent and to have an attorney present? What makes cross-examination seem so brutal that people who have been abused would prefer not to come forward, rather than be subjected to interrogation? In what ways does the legal system tolerate dishonesty beyond what is acceptable in everyday interactions? This session discusses linguistic research on these and related questions.
Lawrence Solan, Brooklyn Law School
Lawrence Solan, Brooklyn Law School
Tammy Gales, Hofstra University; Lawrence Solan, Brooklyn Law School
The Language of Assault Trials: An Analysis of Witness Cross-Examinations
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