Cover: Police Interrogation and American Justice, from Harvard University PressCover: Police Interrogation and American Justice in PAPERBACK

Police Interrogation and American Justice

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Book Details

PAPERBACK

$26.50 • £19.95 • €24.00

ISBN 9780674035317

Publication: September 2009

Short

384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

5 tables

World

“Read him his rights.” We all recognize this line from cop dramas. But what happens afterward? In this book, Richard A. Leo sheds light on a little-known corner of our criminal justice system—the police interrogation.

Incriminating statements are necessary to solve crimes, but suspects almost never have reason to provide them. Therefore, as Leo shows, crime units have developed sophisticated interrogation methods that rely on persuasion, manipulation, and deception to move a subject from denial to admission, serving to shore up the case against him. Ostensibly aimed at uncovering truth, the structure of interrogation requires that officers act as an arm of the prosecution.

Skillful and fair interrogation allows authorities to capture criminals and deter future crime. But Leo draws on extensive research to argue that confessions are inherently suspect and that coercive interrogation has led to false confession and wrongful conviction. He looks at police evidence in the court, the nature and disappearance of the brutal “third degree,” the reforms of the mid-twentieth century, and how police can persuade suspects to waive their Miranda rights.

An important study of the criminal justice system, Police Interrogation and American Justice raises unsettling questions. How should police be permitted to interrogate when society needs both crime control and due process? How can order be maintained yet justice served?

Awards

  • 2010 Outstanding Book Award, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • 2010 Edwin H. Sutherland Outstanding Scholarship Award, Law and Society Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems
  • Co-Winner, 2009 Herbert Jacob Book Prize, Law and Society Association
  • Honorable Mention, 2009 Distinguished Scholarship Award, Pacific Sociological Association
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