Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2017652
 
 

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The Language of Crime


Peter Tiersma


Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Lawrence M. Solan


Brooklyn Law School

March 7, 2012

THE LANGUAGE OF CRIME, Peter M. Tiersma, Lawrence M. Solan, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law, 2012
Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 263
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-14

Abstract:     
Many crimes are generally performed by using language. Among them are solicitation, conspiracy, perjury, threatening, and bribery. In this chapter, we look at these crimes as acts of speech, and find that they have much in common – and a few interesting differences. For one thing, they involve different acts of speech, ranging from promises to orders. For another, most language crimes can be committed through indirect speech. Few criminals will say, “I hereby offer you a bribe,” or “I hereby engage you to kill my spouse.” Thus, many of the legal battles involve the extent to which courts may draw inferences of communicative intent from language that does not literally appear to be criminal. Yet the legal system draws a line in the sand when it comes to perjury, a crime that can only be committed through a direct fabrication. We provide a structured discussion of these various crimes that should serve to explain the similarities and difference among them.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: crime, speech act, sincerity, perjury, bribery, solicitation, threats

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Date posted: March 8, 2012 ; Last revised: March 29, 2012

Suggested Citation

Tiersma, Peter and Solan, Lawrence M., The Language of Crime (March 7, 2012). THE LANGUAGE OF CRIME, Peter M. Tiersma, Lawrence M. Solan, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law, 2012; Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 263; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-14. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2017652

Contact Information

Peter M. Tiersma (Contact Author)
Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
213-736-1162 (Phone)
213-380-3769 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: www.tiersma.com
Lawrence M. Solan
Brooklyn Law School ( email )
250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States
718-780-0357 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.brooklaw.edu/lawrence_solan

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