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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicole Adams-Quackenbush
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Canadian criminal suspects have notably limited access to legal counsel upon arrest compared to suspects in the U.S. Additionally, prior research has shown significant misunderstanding of police warnings informing suspects of their rights upon arrest. This paper presents three studies on Canadians’ comprehension of criminal suspects’ rights upon arrest, with a focus on the right to counsel. Study 1 (N=80) and Study 2 (N=377) examined Canadian layperson’s comprehension, knowledge, and perceptions of legal rights upon arrest. In turn, Study 3 (N=78) investigated Canadian legal professionals’ perceptions of laypersons’ knowledge of those rights. Results from these three studies indicated there is substantial confusion about the right to counsel for Canadian criminal suspects. These results also support previous research demonstrating problems with comprehension of Canadian police cautions. Taken together, the findings of the present research pose significant concern for an increased risk of false confessions from Canadian suspects who enter an interrogation with limited knowledge and understanding of their legal right to counsel.
Author(s): Patry MW, Connors CJ, Adams-Quackenbush NM, Smith SM
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Print publication date: 01/03/2017
Online publication date: 06/05/2016
Acceptance date: 01/02/2016
ISSN (print): 0882-0783
Publisher: Springer US
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