Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Civil Rights and Discrimination

2009

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Language Of Consent In Police Encounters, Janice Nadler, J.D. Trout Jan 2009

The Language Of Consent In Police Encounters, Janice Nadler, J.D. Trout

Faculty Working Papers

In this chapter, we examine the nature of conversations in citizen-police encounters in which police seek to conduct a search based on the citizen's consent. We argue that when police officers ask a person if they can search, citizens often feel enormous pressure to say yes. But judges routinely ignore these pressures, choosing instead to spotlight the politeness and restraint of the officers' language and demeanor. Courts often analyze the language of police encounters as if the conversation has an obvious, context-free meaning. The pragmatic features of language influence behavior, but courts routinely ignore or deny this fact. Instead ...