Book Review: Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond

AuthorJohn T. Parry
Published date01 June 2013
Date01 June 2013
Subject MatterBook Reviews
the advantages associated with the suggestive policing measures, the chapter concludes with a dis-
cussion regarding the application of the five principles of mission-based policing.
In Chapter 10, Anticipated Problems, the authors address a number of concerns regarding the use
of mission-based policing. This includes, but is not limited to, the perception of legitimacy, the
potential of increased victimization, and the use of an untested policing model. The answer to these
potential problems is based upon command integrity, mission focus, and neighborhood recovery
measures. The chapter concludes by offering the potential viability of the mission-based policing
model by emphasizing its approach to addressing serious crime that appeals to both conservative and
liberal crime control agendas.
Mission-Based Policing provides a comprehensive and practical approach to incorporating
effective crime-control strategies within police departments. Through the use of military-based
counterinsurgency tactics, the authors have presented a credible argument for the evaluation and
redesign of deployment measures within policing. In addition to strategic and operational insight,
the text offers a unique approach to law enforcement through the use of substantive collaborative
community-based reinvestment measures. From an academic perspective, the text distinctly high-
lights a number of relative research aspects that attempt to bridge the gap between theory and prac-
tical application. Mission-Based Policing is a well-written manuscript that is ideal for policy
makers within the area of policing, graduate students, and those interested in the discipline of
criminal justice.
George C. Thomas III and Richard A. Leo
Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012. x, 317 pp.
$39.95. ISBN: 978-0-19-533-893-5
Reviewed by: John T. Parry, Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, OR, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016812466105
This important and deeply researched book unsettles received wisdom about confessions law and
makes realistic suggestions for better legal doctrine. But Confessions of Guilt is not primarily a
roadmap to legalreform. It is also a clear-eyed and sometimeschastened account of how law responds
to social and cultural forces. Nowhere is this stance more evident—and perhaps, nowhere is it more
controversial—than in the authors’ discussion of coercive interrogation of suspected terrorists.
Confessions of Guilt begins with two interrogations. The first is the examination of a murder
suspect in London in 1832. The examining magistrate carefully warned the suspect that he did not
have to speak and that anything he said could become evidence at trial. The second is the interroga-
tion of Mohamed al-Kahtani by U.S. forces at Guanta´namo Bay Naval Base in 2002. No one told
al-Kahtani that he could remain silent and no one warned him that his statements might be admitted
at a trial. The idea of subsequent legal proceedings was remote at best, and he was subjected to a
range of coercive tactics that almost certainly amounted to torture.
Thomas and Leo do not use these examples to suggest that British law is better than American
law. An important theme of their book is the overlap between U.K. and U.S. law and practice (not
to mention that the United Kingdom in recent decades has also used coercive interrogation tactics in
a similar set of cases). Their point, rather, is that the typical story of a centuries-long progress in
confessions law from torture to constitutional rights is inadequate. Their historical account—which
takes up the first half of the book—emphasizes pendulum swings in British and American
250 Criminal Justice Review 38(2)

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