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Can You Answer the Question?
Unformatted Document Text:  17 is very confident in their belief of their being guilty—they are so confident that they don’t need defendants to supply any information. What they are expected to do is but to confess their guilt. Besides, double-barreled questions are good at conveying emotions such as excitement, anger, or frustration, so they are emotionally charged questions. For example, in the above three excerpts, the double-barreled questions convey the prosecution or the presiding judge’s impatience and anger over the defendant’s refusal to confess guilt, which exerts pressure on the defendant who knows the court rule that good attitudes in courts will bring them lenient punishment—it’s unwise to incur anger from the presiding judge in particular. On the other hand, these confusing questions make it harder or totally impossible for defendants to think about other excuses because they handicap clear thinking. Unanswerable Questions II. Shaming Questions In the section where I discussed invalidating sequences, I already mentioned the shaming effects of the invalidating questions. Besides the shaming effects of those invalidating questions, there are questions that directly shame defendants. These questions include 1) questions that question defendants’ communicative competence 2) accusatory questions and 3) meta-questions. Can You Answer My question? The defendants in the bribery trial were persistent in their denial of guilt through maintaining silence throughout most of the questioning sequences, despite the persistent effort on the part of the prosecution or the presiding judge. At one time, the presiding judge asks whether the defendant has the ability to answer his question. See the following excerpt. Excerpt # 15 [BC.CRT.P.2001] 01 Q: I asked you what role (the full name of the briber) played, positive or 02 negative. 03 Can you answer the question? Can you answer it? 04 A: (Silence) 05 Q: (Louder voice) Can you answer this question? Can or cannot? 06 A: (Silence) 07 Q: (In stern voice) Can you answer it? Positive or negative? 08 A: (Silence)

Authors: Chang, Yanrong.
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17
is very confident in their belief of their being guilty—they are so confident that they don’t need
defendants to supply any information. What they are expected to do is but to confess their guilt. Besides,
double-barreled questions are good at conveying emotions such as excitement, anger, or frustration, so
they are emotionally charged questions. For example, in the above three excerpts, the double-barreled
questions convey the prosecution or the presiding judge’s impatience and anger over the defendant’s
refusal to confess guilt, which exerts pressure on the defendant who knows the court rule that good
attitudes in courts will bring them lenient punishment—it’s unwise to incur anger from the presiding
judge in particular. On the other hand, these confusing questions make it harder or totally impossible for
defendants to think about other excuses because they handicap clear thinking.
Unanswerable Questions II. Shaming Questions
In the section where I discussed invalidating sequences, I already mentioned the shaming effects
of the invalidating questions. Besides the shaming effects of those invalidating questions, there are
questions that directly shame defendants. These questions include 1) questions that question defendants’
communicative competence 2) accusatory questions and 3) meta-questions.
Can You Answer My question?
The defendants in the bribery trial were persistent in their denial of guilt through maintaining
silence throughout most of the questioning sequences, despite the persistent effort on the part of the
prosecution or the presiding judge. At one time, the presiding judge asks whether the defendant has the
ability to answer his question. See the following excerpt.
Excerpt # 15 [BC.CRT.P.2001]
01 Q: I asked you what role (the full name of the briber) played, positive or
02 negative.
03
Can you answer the question? Can you answer it?
04 A: (Silence)
05
Q: (Louder voice) Can you answer this question? Can or cannot?
06 A: (Silence)
07
Q: (In stern voice) Can you answer it? Positive or negative?
08 A: (Silence)


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