LINGUIST List 31.1791

Fri May 29 2020

Books: The Suspect's Statement: Komter

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 21-May-2020
From: Dan Iredale <>
Subject: The Suspect's Statement: Komter
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Title: The Suspect's Statement
Subtitle: Talk and Text in the Criminal Process
Series Title: Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics
Published: 2019
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Martha Komter
Electronic: ISBN: 9781108605731 Pages: 218 Price: U.S. $ 88.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9781107059481 Pages: 218 Price: U.S. $ 110.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9781107059481 Pages: 218 Price: U.K. £ 80.00

What suspects tell the police may become a crucial piece of evidence when the case comes to court. But what happens to 'the suspect's statement' when it is written down by the police? Based on a unique set of data from over fifteen years' worth of research, Martha Komter examines the trajectory of the suspect's statement from the police interrogation through to the trial. She shows how the suspect's statement is elicited and written down in the police report, how this police report both represents and differs from the original talk in the interrogation, and how it is quoted and referred to in court. The analyses cover interactions in multiple settings, with documents that link one interaction to the next, providing insights into the interactional and documentary foundations of the criminal process and, more generally, into the construction, character and uses of documents in institutional settings.

1. Introduction
2. The police interrogation: the talk, the typing and the text
3. The police report: the document, the text and the talk
4. The trial: documents in action
5. The career of a suspect's statement
6. Conclusion and discussion.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 29-May-2020