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Volume 9, number 2 (December 2002)


Contents
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Joanna Kerr Thompson

‘Powerful/powerless’ language in court: a critical re-evaluation of the Duke Language and Law Programme

The Duke Language and Law Programme, conducted in North Carolina in the 1970s, is still widely cited as evidencing, most notably, that ‘powerless’ language used by witnesses in court adversely influences juror evaluations of their credibility (Tiersma 1999; Gibbons 1994; Levi and Walker 1990). This article will critically reappraise aspects of Duke’s methodological design and query the group’s claims regarding the impact of ‘powerless’ speech. It will further suggest that in order to create a more established future role for forensic linguists as ‘advisers’ to justice system professionals and participants, the ‘duty of care’ owed by linguists to their ‘clients’ must be more closely defined.
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Martha L. Komter

The suspect’s own words: the treatment of written statements in Dutch courtrooms

In Dutch trials, suspects are confronted with written statements they made to the police and the investigating judge, earlier in the criminal law process, as recorded in the case files. These statements are supposed to be written down as far as possible in the suspect’s own words, but they are in fact the police officer’s written versions of what was said in the interrogating room. They are simultaneously reports of previous talks held in the police interrogating room and part of the interaction in the courtroom, both of which are conducted for a different purpose. Thus, suspects are held accountable for what they supposedly told the police, and if they argue with this, judges can rebut their protests by pointing out that they themselves have told this to the police.
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Susan Ehrlich

(Re)contextualizing complainants’ accounts of sexual assault

By comparing data from a sexual assault criminal trial and a sexual assault civil trial, this article shows how counter-hegemonic frameworks can be incorporated into institutional discourse. More specifically, I explore the ways in which feminist discourses or ideological ‘frames’ regarding women and sexual violence can be introduced into the discursive space of a trial, resulting in the contextualizing of complainants’ experiences of sexual assault. The article also illustrates how direct examination can serve to (re)structure and (re)contextualize the testimony given by wittnesses in ways which are not typically associated with direct examination questioning strategies. While not an adversarial context, the direct examination of the civil trial analysed here displayed properties of trial discourse more often associated with cross-examination.
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Philip Gaines

Negotiating power at the bench: informal talk in sidebar sessions

The sidebar, a conference between judge and attorney(s) out of the hearing of the jury, functions primarily as a venue for arguments about evidence admissibility in court. In the O. J. Simpson trial, there were approximately 600 sidebars. A striking characteristic of many of these conferences was the presence of a wide range of types of informal talk, including personal insults, joking, threats and compliments. Rather than seeing these departures from the official business of the courtroom as extraneous and irrelevant, this study suggests that attorneys use informal talk in sidebars strategically in order to gain advantage with the judge through profiling themselves as superior to their opponents and as sharing solidarity with the judge.
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Conference Report:
Annual Meeting of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics, Moscow State Linguistic University, 1–4 July 2002
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Index
to Volumes 8 and 9
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Book Reviews
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Forensic Linguistics is published by the University of Birmingham Press.
User: WEIMING LIU
Session: 21555

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西北政法大学外国语学院刘蔚铭教授创建与维护

2002-05-062008-01-25