Faculty & Staff Achievements

Law Professor's Book Wins Top Honors

by Edward Carpenter

Richard Leo, University of San Francisco associate professor of law, has been awarded the prestigious Herbert Jacob Book Prize for 2009 by the Law and Society Association.

Leo's book, Police Interrogation and American Justice, was the co-winner of the prize, intended to recognize new outstanding work in law and society scholarship.

Police Interrogation and American Justice, which also won the Pacific Sociological Association's Honorable Mention for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship award for 2009, chronicles more than a century of police interrogation in the United States, from the use of physical torture to the rise of psychological manipulation and the lie detector test. In addition, it examines how interrogation techniques often elicit false confessions.

"Richard A. Leo's Police Interrogation and American Justice is a major contribution in the classic tradition of socio-legal scholarship, revealing how a crucial—and in this case, a carefully hidden—aspect of the legal process actually works. Police Interrogation and American Justice is essential reading for anyone at all interested in the quality of the American criminal justice process," according to the Law and Society Association award citation.

Leo is a leading authority on police interrogation and confessions in the United States. He is internationally known for his pioneering empirical research on police interrogation practices, false confessions, and wrongful convictions. He has written five books and more than 60 articles and book chapters on this and related subjects. The U.S. Supreme Court cited one of his articles in the Corley v. United States decision handed down in April.

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