Discourse processes and topic management in false confession contamination by police investigators


  • Philip Gaines Montana State University




false confession, confession contamination, police interrogation


This article advances an analysis of discourse processes which produce confession contamination by two police investigators in an interrogation which resulted in a voluntary false confession. Specifically, I identify and exemplify processes which I call ‘clueing’, ‘stacking’, ‘marking’ and ‘telling’, which are recruited to both covertly and overtly disclose inside crime knowledge to an innocent suspect who is being questioned about such knowledge but is, of course, unable to supply it.

Author Biography

Philip Gaines, Montana State University

Philip Gaines is Professor of English at Montana State University, USA. His current research focus is on the linguistic and discourse structures and processes of coercive police interrogation in cases of false confession.


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How to Cite

Gaines, P. (2018). Discourse processes and topic management in false confession contamination by police investigators. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 25(2), 175–204. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.34951