TASER® Exposure and Cognitive Impairment: Implications for Valid Miranda Waivers and the Timing of Police Custodial Interrogations Kane and White Taser Exposure and Cognitive Impairment

Robert J. Kane, Michael White

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Abstract

This study reports findings from a randomized controlled trial that examined the effects of the TASER® (a conducted energy weapon sold by TASER International, Scottsdale, Arizona) on several dimensions of cognitive functioning. The research demonstrated that in a sample of healthy human volunteer participants, TASER exposure led to significant and substantial reductions in (a) short-term auditory recall and (b) abilities to assimilate new information through auditory processes. The effects lasted up to 1 hour for most subjects, almost all of whom returned to baseline 60 minutes postexposure. Policy Implications: The study applies the findings of reduced cognitive functioning among healthy participants in a laboratory setting to criminal suspects in field settings and questions the abilities of "average" suspects to waive their Miranda rights knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily within 60 minutes of a TASER exposure. The study poses the question: What would it cost police to wait 60 minutes after a TASER deployment before engaging suspects in custodial interrogations?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-107
Number of pages29
JournalCriminology and Public Policy
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Public Administration

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