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The Guilt-Presumptive Nature of Custodial Interrogations in the United States

The Guilt-Presumptive Nature of Custodial Interrogations in the United States

The Use of Confrontation, Appeals to Self-Interest, and Sympathy/Minimization in the Reid Technique

Chapter:
(p.65) Chapter Four The Guilt-Presumptive Nature of Custodial Interrogations in the United States
Source:
The Discourse of Police Interviews
Author(s):
Marianne Mason
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226647821.003.0004

This chapter examines the discursive features of three of the interrogation strategies most commonly used in the Reid interrogation method: the sympathetic-detective/minimization strategy, confronting the suspect with evidence of guilt, and appealing to the suspect’s self-interest. The data for the chapter includes the police interrogations of two suspects who were charged with murder and rape respectively. The analysis shows how the police officers in each case dismissed the invocations of the right to counsel of both suspects and proceeded to use the three aforementioned strategies to direct the suspects to provide a confession, while taking ‘innocence off the table’ and ignoring the suspects’ frequent denials. Removing the option of a suspect’s innocence, particularly if it leads to a suspect providing information or a confession, may substantiate (partially or fully) the police officers’ construction of a suspect’s alleged guilt.

Keywords:   police interrogation, Reid method, discourse analysis, confession, guilt presumptive, minimization, confrontation

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