Dancing Around Miranda: The Effects of Legal Reform on Homicide Detectives in the US and the UK

Fiona Brookman, Sophie Pike, Edward Maguire

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    Abstract

    Drawing upon qualitative data gathered during fieldwork at homicide units in the USA and UK, this paper explores how detectives in both settings have responded to legal reforms intended to protect suspects’ rights. Our analyses reveal that homicide detectives in the USA routinely engage in procedures intended to circumvent these rights, typically to enhance the likelihood of eliciting a confession. We explore in particular the tactics adopted by detectives in the USA to circumvent suspects’ Miranda rights immediately prior to and during the interrogation of homicide suspects. We discuss how and why detectives in the USA and UK, two nations with ‘adversarial’ legal systems, appear to have responded differently to legal reforms designed to enhance suspects’ rights during interviews and interrogations (Miranda, 1966 and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)725
    Number of pages47
    JournalCriminal Law Bulletin
    Volume55
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019

    Keywords

    • suspects' rights
    • interrogation
    • homicide
    • suspect interviews
    • homicide detectives UK and USA
    • detective culture
    • Miranda
    • PACE
    • Justice

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