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Comparative View of the Law of Interrogation

NCJ Number
International Criminal Justice Review Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2007 Pages: 5-26
Yue Ma
Date Published
March 2007
22 pages
This article explores the international development in the law of interrogation and uses the American Miranda procedure as a reference point in comparing America and other countries’ practices.
The past several decades have witnessed a trend toward setting more restrictive standards for police behavior and providing more rights to suspects and defendants. This trend is evident in the field of interrogation law. Forty years ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court created the Miranda procedural protection, few countries required the police to issue preinterrogation warnings. Except for coerced confessions, it was rare for courts to exclude evidence for police failure to follow procedural rules. Today, the concept of preinterrogation warnings has become widely accepted. In virtually all major Western countries, the police are required to issue some form of warnings prior to interrogation. Even with the tremendous progress, there are still deficiencies. But, the general trend toward providing more protections to suspects and defendants seems clear. Police interrogation is recognized as an essential and accepted part of law enforcement in all legal cultures. However, the police interrogation process has been a subject of controversy in all civilized nations. The central issue is how to balance the public interest in crime control against individual interest in freedom from police coercive tactics. This article explores the development in the law of interrogation in England, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, and China. The American Miranda procedure is used as a reference point to highlight the similarities and differences between American and other countries’ practices. Table, references