psychological manipulation | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Procedural Law

Psychological manipulation refers to tactics used by individuals or entities to influence others’ thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, often in a deceptive or coercive manner, and can occur in various procedural law contexts.

Psychological manipulation may be used by individuals such as interrogators, attorneys, or even judges to obtain a desired outcome. For example, an interrogator may use manipulation techniques such as gaslighting or emotional appeals to obtain a confession, while an attorney may use manipulation to sway a jury’s opinion or coerce a witness into testifying in a certain way.

Psychological manipulation can also occur in the context of plea bargaining, where defendants may be pressured into accepting a plea deal by their attorney, prosecutor, or even a judge. This can involve tactics such as threatening the defendant with a harsher sentence if they do not accept the deal or making false promises about the outcome of a trial.

Moreover, psychological manipulation can also occur in other procedural contexts, such as during the selection of a jury, where attorneys may try to manipulate potential jurors’ attitudes or opinions through subtle cues or persuasive arguments.

While psychological manipulation can be an effective tactic in achieving a desired outcome, it can also be unethical and can compromise the fairness and impartiality of legal proceedings. In some cases, it may even be considered a violation of due process, as it can unfairly influence the decision-making process and undermine the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

To prevent psychological manipulation in the procedural law context, legal professionals must adhere to ethical standards and ensure that their tactics do not compromise the integrity of legal proceedings. This may involve providing education and training on ethical practices, establishing clear guidelines and protocols, and holding individuals accountable for unethical behavior.

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Last Modified: 03/13/2023


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