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In recent years, American courts and legal scholars have increasingly turned to Jewish legal tradition for insights into various issues confronting the American legal system. Jewish law has provided an alternative model and, at times, a contrast case that some have found particularly helpful in illuminating complex, controversial, and unsettled areas of American law. In light of these developments, this Essay aims to consider the efficacy of drawing on Jewish law to facilitate a more thoughtful analysis of issues in American law, with a specific focus on the issue of self-incrimination. The Essay begins with a brief discussion of the function of Jewish law within Jewish faith and tradition. Employing a psychological and philosophical framework, the Essay then explores the issue of self-incrimination in Jewish law, both on its own terms and through an analysis of its potential relevance to difficult questions regarding the use of criminal confessions in the United States. The Essay concludes with the cautious proposition that the American law of self-incrimination may benefit from incorporating some of the insights offered by Jewish legal thought.

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28 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 257

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