Deceptive Ambiguity by Police and Prosecutors

Hardcover | October 17, 2017

byRoger W. Shuy

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Much has been written about how criminal suspects, defendants, and the targets of undercover operations employ ambiguous language as they interact with the legal system. This book examines the other side of the coin, describing fifteen criminal investigations that demonstrate how police,prosecutors, and undercover agents use deceptive ambiguity with their subjects and targets, thereby creating misrepresentations through their uses of speech events, schemas, agendas, speech acts, lexicon, and grammar. This misrepresentation also can strongly affect the perceptions of laterlisteners, such as judges and juries, about the subjects' motives, predispositions, intentions, and voluntariness. Deception is commonly considered intentional while ambiguity is often excused as unintentional, in line with Grice's maxim of sincerity in his cooperative principle. Most of the interactions of suspects, defendants, and targets with representatives of law enforcement, however, are oppositional,adversarial, and non-cooperative events that provide the opportunity for participants to stretch, ignore, or even violate the cooperative principle. One effective way law enforcement does this is by using ambiguity. Suspects and defendants may hear such ambiguous speech and not recognize theambiguity and therefore react in ways that they may not have understood or intended. The fifteen case studies in this book illustrate how deceptive ambiguity, whether intentional or not, is used as commonly by police, prosecutors and undercover agents as it is by suspects and defendants.

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Much has been written about how criminal suspects, defendants, and the targets of undercover operations employ ambiguous language as they interact with the legal system. This book examines the other side of the coin, describing fifteen criminal investigations that demonstrate how police,prosecutors, and undercover agents use deceptive ...

Roger Shuy founded and chaired the sociolinguistics PhD program at Georgetown University, during which time he also co-founded the annual meeting of NWAV and co-founded the American Association of Applied Linguistics. He worked on some 500 criminal and civil law cases, testifying in federal and state jurisdictions as well as before the...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 17, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190669896

ISBN - 13:9780190669898

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