Tag Archives: law

colorful fingerprint

Forensic Linguistics

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A recent article in the Washington Post reminded me of a longer investigative piece from several years ago in the New Yorker. Both of these articles involve the new discipline of forensic linguistics. For those of you who are not familiar with the practice, it involves using the specific words, phrases, spellings, and styles that a person uses in their email, texts, posts, and other writings to develop a signature profile, and then to use that profile to link the person to evidence from a crime.

As more of our communication is written, the linguistic fingerprints we leave provide enticing clues for investigators, contributing to the small but influential field of forensic linguistics and its controversial subspecialty, author identification.The new whodunit is all about “who wrote it.”

Rolling Dice

What Does the Word Mean?

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There is currently a case in front of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding sports betting in New Jersey. I heard a great discussion of it on Bloomberg’s law podcast (which I am addicted to), but they roll the stories off the web site after just a couple of days, so you will have to search iTunes if you want to listen. Here is a brief description that doesn’t do the nuance justice, but hopefully I will here.

A good portion of Tuesday’s oral arguments before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals focused on the meaning of the word “authorize,” and whether New Jersey did that in striking the betting prohibitions.

riot police

Do Police Need Lapel Cameras?

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This article in the New York Times highlights many of the issues regarding lapel-mounted video cameras on law enforcement officers.

No consensus has emerged about when officers should turn on their cameras, which could leave departments open to accusations of selective recording. And tapes do not always lead to universally shared conclusions…