I'm Sorry for What I've Done: The Language of Courtroom Apologies by M. Catherine GruberI'm Sorry for What I've Done: The Language of Courtroom Apologies by M. Catherine Gruber

I'm Sorry for What I've Done: The Language of Courtroom Apologies

byM. Catherine Gruber

Hardcover | May 15, 2014

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This book examines 52 apologetic allocutions produced during federal sentencing hearings. The practice of inviting defendants to make a statement in their own behalf is a long-standing one and it is understood as offering defendants the opportunity to impress a judge or jury with theirremorse, which could be a factor in the sentence that is imposed. Defendants raised the topics of the offense, mitigation, future behaviour and the sentence in different ways and this book explores the pros and cons associated with the different strategies that they used. Because there is no way ofascertaining exactly how effective (or ineffective) an individual allocution is, case law, sociolinguistic and historical resources, and judges' final remarks are used to develop hypotheses about defendants' communicative goals as well as what might constitute an ideal defendant stance from ajudge's point of view. The corpus is unique because, unlike official transcripts, the transcripts used for this study include paralinguistic features such as hesitations, wavering voice, and crying-while-talking. Among its highlights, the book proposes that although a ritualized apology formula (e.g., "I'm sorry" or "Iapologize") would appear to be a good fit for the context of allocution and even appears to be expected, the use of these formulas carries implications in this context that do not serve defendants' communicative goals. I argue that the application of Austin's (1962) performative-constative continuumreveals that offense-related utterances that fall closer to the constative end are more consistent with the discursive constraints on the speech event of allocution. Further, I propose that the ideologies associated with allocution, in particular the belief that allocution functions as a protectionfor defendants, obscures the ways in which the context constrains what defendants can say and how effectively they can say it.
After completing the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame with a second major in German in 1990, Mary Catherine (Katie) Gruber studied Slavic languages and literatures at Ohio State University, completing two masters degrees in 1994. After a brief stint working in Washington DC, she entered the linguistics program...
Title:I'm Sorry for What I've Done: The Language of Courtroom ApologiesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 15, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199325669

ISBN - 13:9780199325665

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Apologies and Courtroom Apologies3. The Context of Federal Sentencing Hearings4. What Defendants Say in Response to their Offenses5. Defendants Talk about the Past, the Future, and the Present: Mitigation, Future6. Broad Features of Defendants' Allocutions7. ConclusionsAppendix 1: Data collection and the defendantsAppendix 2: Coding systemAppendix 3: Transcription practices and the corpus of allocutionsAppendix 4: Display of allocutions by coded categoriesAppendix 5: Sentencing tableWorks Cited