Language and the Law in Deaf Communities
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
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Volume 9 of the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series focuses on the area of forensic linguistics, that is, the area where language and the law intersect. As Roger Shuy (2001) points out, the use of the term forensic linguistics began in the 1980s and is now the accepted name for this area of study. Forensic linguistics has its own academic organization, The International Association of Forensic Linguistics, and its own...
The Language Problems of Minorities in the Legal Setting
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Virtually all people who have had the unfortunate experience of being accused of a crime are at an immediate disadvantage, especially if they are not guilty of some or all of the charges. They enter a new world of discourse, one that is strange and different from any other interaction they have ever encountered (Mellinkoff 1963; Tiersma 1999). Likewise...
Trampling Miranda: Interrogating Deaf Suspects
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The government’s ability to arrest and interrogate an individual suspected of having committed a crime is a police power fundamental to maintaining the social harmony of a society. But, for the individual who suddenly finds himself forcibly restrained, isolated from the outside world, and subjected to questioning by the police, police interrogation can be...
Court Interpreting for Signing Jurors: Just Transmitting or Interpreting?
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With the important assistance of sign language interpreters, deaf people who use sign language are participating in jury service with greater frequency. Experience has shown that using an interpreter does not violate the sanctity of the jury system and the secrecy of jury deliberations, and that a deaf juror may analyze evidence as well as a juror who can...
When “Equal” Means “Unequal”—And Other Legal Conundrums for the Deaf Community
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Laws structure our society and interactions; they affect all of us, every day, in large and in small ways. Laws are made of words. Therefore, the use and interpretation of legal language is unusually important. Understanding legal language is important to lawyers and judges, of course, but also to the rest of society, as our decisions and lives are controlled...
Misunderstanding, Wrongful Convictions, and Deaf People
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In his paper, “The Language Problems of Minorities in the Legal Setting,” Roger Shuy describes the difficulties of resolving legal disputes involving speakers of other languages and deaf people. He provides three troubling examples. First, a young Creole speaker from Hawaii was imprisoned for perjury on the basis of what appears to be a simple misunderstanding, which a linguist could have easily explained. In the second...
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Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 5 tables
Publication Year: 2003