Forensic Ethics and the Expert Witness / Edition 1

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The expert witness' job is often described as a balancing act: duty to clients on the one hand, duty to society on the other. Forensic Ethics and the Expert Witness probes beyond this familiar conflict of interest framework to present a new, innovative model of professional ethics. Richly illustrated with cases from medicine, psychiatry, and law, this elegantly written volume examines the common moral ground that links these usually separate domains, and relates forensic ethics to larger concepts of morality and justice. In this integrative approach, the expert witness is redefined as one who can balance professional with societal and personal codes in what the authors call "robust professionalism."Three renowned ethicists: Analyze ethical dilemmas expert witnesses commonly encounter in the courtroom; Explore the thought and practice of ethical expert witnesses; Address important questions concerning confidentiality, objectivity in testimony, and the relationship between witness and attorney; Integrate trends in moral reasoning from other fields, from classical philosophy to social contract theory to bioethics; Review standards of conduct from relevant professional organizations; Apply this discussion to the most debated areas, including competence, the insanity defense, right-to-die, and death penalty cases. Forensic psychologists, psychiatrists, scientific experts who testify, as well as legal professionals will find Forensic Ethics and the Expert Witness stimulating reading that advances their fields. This book can also serve as a core text for forensic fellowships or to add depth to psychology and ethics training.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (Assurance Health and Wellness)
Description: Written by three authors with significant clinical experience in forensics, this book highlights the differences in the goals and objectives of the legal system and the individuals providing expert testimony.
Purpose: It is common to face ethical and moral dilemmas when working in forensics. The authors present their arguments to use an approach called aspirational ethics to assist those involved in this area in maintaining the highest ethical standards.
Audience: The primary audience includes practitioners in all areas of forensics. The book could also be useful for individuals involved in advanced training in the area of forensics, as well as those studying in the field of ethics.
Features: The first of six chapters centers on historical perspectives of forensics, while the second offers 10 case examples that require thoughtful consideration and are meant to provoke discussion. Chapters three through five again use case examples to provide a more detailed analysis of ethical theories, integrity, and professionalism, while the final chapter (the longest and, perhaps, the most useful for those called to testify), addresses ethical reasoning as it relates to expert testimony. Appendixes include ethical codes for multiple forensic organizations.
Assessment: Even after working in the field for years, it is common for forensics practitioners to encounter situations with which they have no experience or frame of reference. And while there is no book available that can possibly address each individual question arising when practicing forensics, this book's goal of teaching practitioners the art of reasoning through these difficult questions is both appropriate and worthy. The case examples in this book are brief but considerably challenging, and frequently give rise to subjects many forensic experts might have never considered. This book is an excellent addition to the field, and is a valuable resource for a practitioner's library.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387353807
  • Publisher: Springer US
  • Publication date: 1/31/2007
  • Edition description: 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 211
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Candilis, MD, FAPA, completed his psychiatry residency and chief residency at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital. He is formerly a Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, and Fellow in Law and Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Candilis has served as a hospital ethicist, hospital ethics committee chair, and ethics consultant to federal and state agencies. He chaired the effort to revise the ethics guidelines of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL), served as writer, consultant, and editor for the professional ethics revision of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and wrote for the revision of the APA’s research ethics guidelines. Dr. Candilis conducts federally funded research on informed consent at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and serves as medical director of an inpatient unit in the Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health. He lives in Arlington, MA, with his wife and daughter.

Robert Weinsk, MD completed his residency in general and adolescent psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and a research fellowship in psychiatry at Boston University Medical School. He is certified in forensic psychiatry by the ABPN. Dr. Weinsk is former chair of the ethics committee of AAPL, and of the good forensic practice committee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. While chair of AAPL’s ethics committee the guidelines were revised twice and the only Opinions of the AAPL Ethics Committee promulgated. Dr. Weinsk co-edited Ethical Practice in Psychiatry and Law published by Kluwer in 1990, and has written numerous papers on forensic ethics. He chairs the California Psychiatric Association’s Judicial Action Committee and has served on the APA judicial action committee and is a distinguished fellow of the APA. Dr. Weinsk is clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA where he is director of the forensic psychiatry fellowship program.

Richard Martinez, MD, completed undergraduate studies at Tulane University and a Master of Humanities degree at the University of Colorado. He received his M.D. from LSU Medical School in New Orleans and completed a Fellowship in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, followed by a Fellowship at the Center for Ethics and the Professions at Harvard University from 1994-96. As an Associate Professor in the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, he coordinated the clinical ethics and graduate medical education initiatives in ethics and professionalism for several years.

He has written on topics of professional ethics and social responsibility, organizational healthcare ethics, medical undergraduate education, boundaries in the patient-professional relationship, and the medical humanities. Currently, Dr. Martinez is the Director of Psychiatric Emergency and Forensic Services at Denver Health Medical Center and Denver County Jail and is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Interim Training Director of the Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the sub-specialty of Forensic Psychiatry and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

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Table of Contents

and Overview.- The Problem of the Expert’s Ethics in Court.- Cases and Examples Using the Approaches So Far.- Approaches That Guide Ethical Behavior.- Ethical Theories: Principled Models, Narrative Theory, and Professional Integrity.- Theories and Perspectives from Other Quarters.- Robust Professionalism: Beyond Role.- Applying Theory to Practice.- Ethical Reasoning for the Courtroom Expert.

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