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By Ephraim Margolin
Book Review columns.
Police Interrogation and American Justice
By Richard A. Leo
Harvard University Press (2008)
Reviewed by Ephraim Margolin
Professor Yale Kamisar called this “the best book on police
interrogations I have ever read.” Indeed, it is the best book on this
subject. Richard Leo uses data not ordinarily available. He brilliantly
documents the everydayness of police dialogue with suspects in chapters
discussing “professionalizing the police” and “the third degree in
America” as well as through analysis of relentlessly systematic police
use of deceit, manipulation, lying and disguised coercion.
For this book, Leo directly observed hundreds of investigations in
Northern California police departments, and reviewed hundreds of
electronically recorded police interrogations throughout the United
States. He studied countless police interrogation training courses and
seminars, and analyzed their published and unpublished training manuals.
In addition, he interviewed numerous po
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