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Legal-Lay CommunicationTextual Travels in the Law$
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Chris Heffer, Frances Rock, and John Conley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746842.001.0001

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Travels of a Suspect’s Statement

Travels of a Suspect’s Statement

Chapter:
(p.126) Chapter 6 Travels of a Suspect’s Statement
Source:
Legal-Lay Communication
Author(s):

Martha Komter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746842.003.0006

Martha Komter’s chapter illustrates the intertextual construction of legal cases by showing how texts travel through the Dutch criminal law process, from the police investigation through the trial. The particular text she focuses on is the suspect’s statement to the police. Examining two different modes of production – talk and writing – Komter discusses how suspect’s statements are written down by the police as first-person narratives, and then treated by judges as genuine representations of what the suspect actually said. However, a comparison between what suspects say and what is written down shows that there are substantial differences between the talk and the writing. In addition, judges’ references to the information in these case documents exhibit how they read the dossier, how they guide the attention of others to the salient features of the case-file, and by implication, how they construe their professional and institutional identities.

Keywords:   Entextualization, decontextualization, recontextualization, criminal cases, interrogations, police

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